CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The I-X Center is breaking into the concert and theatrics business.
A Halloween costume party with live music was a test run Thursday night. But come spring, representatives are gearing up for an opening night with a major music headliner.
"We'd love to open with an artist in the 5,000 to 7,000 [audience] range and really open with a bang," says Jeremy Levine, vice president of business development.
The I-X Center will unveil the country's first portable arena this spring, but Cleveland 19 got an early sneak peek. The mobile venue can easily transform from concert hall to conference room. It's expected to put the convention center on the map for concert and other theatrical-type events.
The idea for the mobile arena came about 10 years ago. I-X reps sensed that the massive 2.2 million square foot facility could fill the gap between smaller stage venues and large ones, like The Q. But they needed elevated seating and a whole lot of quality sound control.
"The technology had to catch up with the concept," says Levine.
Phase one tackled seating. The facility invested in portable telescopic seating units, nearly 2,600 seats in total.
"Each one of these 16 units can be moved in and fork lifted around the venue in different combinations," explains Levine.
When you add floor seats to the mix, the audience capacity climbs to nearly 7,000. For audio, floor to ceiling acoustic drapery was installed, and noise barrier panels went up. So far, sound tests have been pleasantly surprising and the feedback from record producers and promoters has been positive.
"The room sounds warm. It's as quality environment as any other existing theater at this point. We've had tremendous outreach from the industry. The curiosity level at this point is really raising," says Levine.
Levine says they're close to signing a top musician for the grand opening in late spring.
The I-X Center is also working to land a corporate sponsor for naming rights to the new venue.
Why wait until spring for the unveil? There are pre-booked events at the convention center through May that require the use of the entire facility. The mobile arena will be taken apart and stored until then.