News Column

Crown nears $500,000 in cost savings for fiscal year

June 25, 2014

By Gregory Phillips, The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.



June 25--Global Spectrum is close to saving $500,000 in its first eight months in charge of the Crown Center.

The county-owned venue complex is projected to finish the financial year $466,000 ahead of the county's budget.

"We're almost to that half a million mark," General Manager Jim Grafstrom told the Civic Center Commission'sFinance Committee Tuesday. "I'm 50-50 right now on whether we're going to get there."

Global Spectrum was hired by the county to take over management of the Crown in November. It was tasked with reducing costs and bringing more events and visitors to the county-owned complex.

The county budgeted a $3.9 million loss this year for the Crown, which is funded through dedicated tax revenue from lodging and restaurant receipts in the county.

"It's our goal to drive that number down," Grafstrom said.

Grafstrom said some repair and maintenance issues could prevent the Crown from reaching its cost-saving goal for the year. A coil burst in an air handler and will cost about $35,000 to fix, Grafstrom said.

Concession changes

The full commission got an update on the revamp of concessions at the Crown. Centerplate, the vendor providing food to the venues, is introducing barbecue, burgers and other choices not previously available.

Service has also been an issue with the concessions stands.

"We've got a really bad reputation with people waiting too long," board member Liz Varnedoe said.

Grafstrom said he is already seeing how Centerplate is addressing those complaints.

"The attitude of the staff has improved," he said. "Their ship's definitely moving in the right direction."

Staff writer Gregory Phillips can be reached at phillipsg@fayobserver.com or 486-3596.

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Source: Fayetteville Observer (NC)