Idaho Falls Auditorium District Update

Mountain America Events Center Presses Forward

Published online: Oct 14, 2020 Articles, East Idaho Business
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IDAHO FALLS -- Despite the impacts of COVID-19 on tourism and the corresponding impact on Idaho Falls Auditorium District tax receipts, the Mountain America Events Center is still moving forward.  

“If COVID-19 hadn’t happened, I believe we would be currently under construction,” said IFAD Executive Director Rob Spear. “The Board made tremendous progress over the past year including constructing the building pad, installing all the underground utilities, upgrading Pioneer Road, hiring a bond underwriter, getting a Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) for construction and negotiating with an operator for the facility. Every one of these items brought certainty to the project.” 

By embarking on this early construction activity, the District made this project as shovel ready as any project in the country and saved money doing it. The bond underwriter developed a financing plan for the district that put the District within $2.5 million of having all the resources necessary to start vertical construction and the GMP provided the actual construction costs.  

Finalizing an operating agreement for the facility is important because the Board is committed to ensuring the Mountain America Center operates efficiently and effectively. Unfortunately, the decline in tourism cut the District’s revenues by 40%. 

“In order for us to move forward the District’s revenues must return to 2019 levels and we must reduce this $2.5 million funding gap,” Spear said. “All indications are that we will see a more competitive bidding environment that should result in a reduced Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP).”

IFAD is undertaking several strategies to close this gap, including re-bidding the project, and working with its Business Advisory group to identify sponsorship and fundraising opportunities. In addition, the District will continue seeking financial support through selling additional naming rights and sponsorships. 

The recent $500k commitment from Pepsi and Admiral Beverages was a huge boost to the project and couldn’t have come at a better time. Admiral Beverage General Manager Erik Hutchings said, “The Mountain America Event Center will be a great community venue for years to come and we are very excited to be part of this venture and a supporter of this project.”

“Admiral Beverages’ willingness to support this project while right in the middle of a pandemic was huge,” said Spear. “It just shows how important this project is to the community and how it will aid businesses in recruitment and retention of employees while providing multiple entertainment opportunities. With a few more community supporters, this project will become a reality very soon.”

Businesses and individuals wishing to support this project can contact Spear directly at 208-932-2729 or rspear@idahofallsauditoriumdistrict.com. 

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