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Music venue loan program advances

Thursday, October 5, 2017 by Chad Swiatecki

Expansion of a loan program for music venues looks to be headed for a City Council vote on Nov. 9. That was based on discussion at Monday’s Music Commission meeting, where members received an update on a plan to convert the Music Venue Assistance Loan Program so music-focused clubs can make capital improvements that will help them generate more revenue. The loan program was created in 2012 to help venues pay for sound mitigation measures and officials with the Music and Entertainment Division have spent recent months fine-tuning a proposal to allow funds to be used for projects – such as installation of cooking equipment to generate food revenue, or a sprinkler system to increase venue capacity – that would let them grow their bottom line. The maximum loan amount is also expected to increase to $50,000. City staff is still finalizing the characteristics of a live music venue to evaluate what businesses would qualify for the program, with the commission expected to vote to support the loan program’s expansion at its Nov. 6 meeting. When considering businesses where showcasing live music is a core part of their business, local music industry experts estimate there are about 50 “music first” venues in Austin. During a presentation on attempts to update the city’s economic incentives tools, David Colligan, Austin’s director of global business expansion, said the program is the kind of tool the city is looking to utilize more often as a way to grow and stabilize local businesses and generate more income for marginalized populations.

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