Beardmore name will adorn new event center
By Ron Petak / Leader Executive Edition
Updated Jul 20, 2016
Welcome to the Beardmore Event Center of Bellevue.
The City of Bellevue and Beardmore Chevrolet Inc. are finalizing a contract for naming rights of the soon-to-open conference center at 37th Street and Raynor Parkway.
The deal was announced Monday morning at City Hall. Terms of the agreement, which require City Council approval, call for Beardmore to make annual payments totaling $500,000 over a 10-year period. The council is expected to take up the matter at Monday's meeting.
"It's a great agreement," said Bellevue Finance Director Rich Severson. "It's close enough to what we wanted, what we thought it was worth."
Mayor Rita Sanders said staff researched naming-rights efforts in other cities and hired Joyce Julius & Associates, Inc. of Ann Arbor, Mich., to help with the process, billing the City $5,500 for its services.
The City asked for proposals earlier this year, which generated six letters of interest, and Sanders said she's thrilled to have a longtime Bellevue business associated with the event center.
"They're putting their faith in us," Sanders said of Beardmore's owners Brian and Carey Hamilton. "[My husband] Rick and I knew Moe (Beardmore) and Moe would be so tickled."
Additionally, Sanders said the naming rights "helps take some of the tax burden off people" for the $8 million event center.
Brian Hamilton, a 1968 graduate of Bellevue High School who owns the dealership with his wife Carey, said attaching the Beardmore name to the event center is a fitting tribute to his wife's father, the aforementioned Moe Beardmore, who moved his dealership from Papillion in 1971 to its current location.
"Carey and I are very excited to be able to help not only promote the event center and use it, but hopefully show the rest of the state that Bellevue is a good place to come," he said.
Hamilton also voiced his appreciation for the work that went into contract negotiations.
"My hat's off to Rita [Sanders] and the City Council and Jim [Ristow] at the Chamber, everyone really worked hard to work this out," he said. "It's a real win, win, win. It took a lot of guts, but it's going to succeed."
Jim Ristow, president of the Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce, which was involved in the naming-rights discussions, said the City can't help but benefit from having the support of a longtime Bellevue business.
"It's nice to have local ownership on the name," Ristow said. "To have a local business behind it only shows more support for the event center."
The conference center, owned by the City but managed by Kinseth Hospitality, is attached to the Kinseth-owned Courtyard by Marriott 122-room hotel also opening in in coming weeks.
The complex is located on the north end of the Twin Creek development.
The conference center is the largest in eastern Sarpy County at 18,000 square feet. It can hold up to 745 guests for a single event or smaller events simultaneously.
In April, the City Council approved nearly $7.4 million in bonds to pay for the conference center. The city also received a $1.1 million grant from the Nebraska Department of Economic Development to help with the costs.
A grand opening event is planned for Aug. 11, but the first event scheduled there is the Sarpy County Economic Development Corporation's quarterly meeting on July 27.
Original Story on the Bellevue Leader: