Concert giant AEG has Warehouse District club in the works

Veteran alt-rock band Jane's Addiction let the cat out of the bag Tuesday with the news that entertainment conglomerate AEG Live will open a Minneapolis Warehouse District rock club.

Poised to go head-to-head with independent local mainstay First Avenue, the new venue, named the Brick, will be in the former home of Christian rock haven Club 3 Degrees. The space, at 111 N. 5th St., has been under construction in recent months, but AEG has yet to announce its plans.

The venue is still going through the licensing approval process, but that didn't stop Jane's Addiction from listing a March 19 date at the Brick as part of its new tour itinerary.

A public hearing on the venue is scheduled Jan. 19 at City Hall. City licensing documents confirm that the venue would be run by AEG, which also manages the city-owned Target Center. A city inspector's report lists its capacity tentatively at 2,100 people,. That puts the Brick squarely between First Ave and Epic in size (1,400 and 2,400, respectively).

A source at 3 Degrees -- which still produces ministry events at Epic and other places -- said the ongoing remodeling has altered the layout of the three-story, multi-tiered venue, which previously had a capacity of 1,700.

The public-hearing notice says that the Brick will offer "a performing arts center, live entertainment including vocals and instrumentals of all genres, concerts, comedy shows, art exhibitions and corporate and private parties."

A spokeswoman for AEG Live's regional office in St. Louis declined to comment but said an announcement will come soon. The Jane's Addiction tour is an AEG-promoted event, making for a fitting symbiotic kickoff at the new club.

'Deep pockets'

Based in Los Angeles, AEG (Anschutz Entertainment Group) has investments ranging from the Lakers and Kings sports teams to the Coachella Music Festival, Staples Center and London's O2 Arena. Music-heavy venues in the AEG chain similar in size to the Brick include Los Angeles' El Rey Theatre, the Bluebird Theater in Denver and the Joint at the Hard Rock Casino in Las Vegas.

First Avenue's general manager Nate Kranz shuddered at having "such a deep-pocketed competitor," but he pointed to First Ave's history with another large entertainment corporation, Clear Channel (now Live Nation). Clear Channel aggressively booked concerts at Quest nightclub in the early 2000s, but the company eventually backed off as a majority of bands chose to play First Ave instead. The Quest location is now home to the independently run Epic.

"We'll just practice business as usual, and I think we'll be fine," Kranz said.

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658 • Follow him on Twitter: @ChrisRstrib

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