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PCCC board approves $55,000 sponsorship from Green Family Stores Jenny
PCCC board approves $55,000 sponsorship from Green Family Stores

The Prairie Capital Convention Center's board Monday approved having Green Family Stores auto dealerships pay $55,000 a year for a sponsorship that includes naming one level of the building the Green Family Mezzanine. File/SJ-R

The Prairie Capital Convention Center's board Monday approved having Green Family Stores auto dealerships pay $55,000 a year for a sponsorship that includes naming one level of the building the Green Family Mezzanine.The Prairie Capital Convention Center's board Monday approved having Green Family Stores auto dealerships pay $55,000 a year for a sponsorship that includes naming one level of the building the Green Family Mezzanine. File/SJ-R
By Bernard Schoenburg
Staff Writer

Posted Mar. 16, 2015 at 5:44 PM
Updated Mar 16, 2015 at 9:23 PM 

The Prairie Capital Convention Center’s board Monday approved having Green Family Stores auto dealerships pay $55,000 a year for a sponsorship that includes naming one level of the building the Green Family Mezzanine.
The action resulted from a letter of intent coming from the Green stores earlier Monday, and was not specified on the agenda of the noon meeting. That prompted some board members to initially balk at an immediate vote. But after Shawn Mayernick, director of business partnerships for the center, took members on an impromptu tour, there was a 7-1 vote to approve, with board member Greg Sronce the only vote against the plan.
“This obviously changes the identity of the interior of the building,” Sronce said. He thinks parts of the plan “could have been scaled down” because of the number of signs Green will be able to place.
“It really wasn’t presented as a negotiation,” Sronce said. “It was kind of a take it or leave it.”
“This is beyond a good deal,” Mayernick told the board. “This is about $25,000 more than I thought we would get in the beginning.” He also noted the board can approve all signs, and he wanted quick approval “so we can get this stuff rolling.”
Brian Oaks, general manager of the building, said with the approval of the board now in hand, a contract still has to be drawn up and signed by center management and the car dealership firm.
“The convention center’s done some really amazing things in the last few years, so we’re excited to be a part of that,” said Rachael Buraski, director of marketing for Green Family Stores. The business includes six dealerships in Springfield and one in Jacksonville, with sales of 15 car brands, she said.
Lots of signs
The letter of intent says that there is an option to renew the sponsorship for five years. Mayernick and Oaks both said the center could decide to renew the plan or not after a year.
Among other highlights, the company can say it is “official auto dealer of the center” or something similar; can use the center for an auto sale during the 13 days of the Illinois State Fair, which Oaks said is usually down time at the center; can have four hanging banners and four wall signs in the mezzanine concourse as well as signage that can be seen inside the main hall over 22 of the 28 mezzanine exits.
Bank of Springfield is also a sponsor at the center, resulting in the outdoor area between the center and its parking garage being named BOS Plaza. As part of Green’s package, Green would get 20 tickets to each BOS Plaza show, and one level of the parking garage overlooking the plaza would be the Green Family Club level. There would also be eight tickets to each indoor event where complimentary tickets are available.
Squires said allowing Green signs over 22 mezzanine exits is “a lot,” but voted for the full package after learning the board must approve all signs and could end the contract after a year.
According to Oaks, curtains will block some of those over-exit signs during some events.
The Green stores will also be able to display a car in the new south terrace that is on the mezzanine level and has a bank of windows facing Adams Street. A car could only be there when the area isn’t being used by another renter, but there would be a Green sign facing out that could be six to 10 feet long and 20 inches high, Maynernick told board member Tony Smarjesse in response to a question.
Mayernick said sponsorship for that terrace could go for $20,000, but in the letter of intent, Green Stores would have an option to buy the plaza’s title sponsorship for $10,000.

'Fantastic' partnership

Mike Coffey Jr., chairman of the board, said he was troubled that another business might offer thousands more after negotiations, only to be told Green would get that area sponsorship.
“I think you run the risk of aggravating and alienating other investors,” Coffey said.
Mayernick said other areas of the building, including a north terrace, are still available for sponsorship. He also said Green stores had wanted the terrace sponsorship included for the $55,000 price.
He said in general, the offer is “exceeding all expectations” and represents “a great opportunity to show value to somebody that invests a lot of money in our town. Hopefully, a year from now, it (the center) could be called the Green center.”
Under a policy previously passed by the board last year, Mayernick can get up to 10 percent and Oaks up to 5 percent of certain sponsorship sales. The board will decide later if those will apply in the case of the $55,000-a-year Green sponsorship.
Coffey has said those commissions don’t apply to beer or soda concessions, or for full-building naming rights.
“I’m all for the commissions,” Coffey said.
He also called the partnership with Green “fantastic” for the center, and said that while he didn’t like details involving the south terrace, “I was not willing to vote no on a $55,000 sponsorship over that one point.”
Board member Jason Loftus supported the Green plan and noted it would be the biggest sponsorship to date. He lauded Mayernick’s hustle, and chided fellow board members before the impromptu tour because they wanted to wait for approval because they couldn’t visualize the area involved.
“If you don’t know where stuff is, that’s not Shawn’s fault,” Loftus said. “He went out and got the money. I mean, he went out and busted his butt.”

LED lighting

Meanwhile, the board also approved, by voice vote, a $191,000 plan to upgrade lighting in the center’s main hall – contingent on receipt of a $36,842 grant that’s been applied for from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation. The grant would be awarded by April 1, and if it comes through, the work could be done this summer, Oaks said.
Oaks said the new LED lights would be dimmable, while the current metal halide lights need time to be restarted when turned off.
Entec, a consultant firm to the center on building systems, put together the plan, Oaks said, and Springfield Electric Supply Co. would provide fixtures, with B&B Electric doing installation.
Entec would provide up-front financing and the center would pay $2,569 per month to the company for five years, Oaks said. He said with that payment, the center would still come out about $250 ahead each month because of lowered energy costs estimated at $2,815 per month. In the second five-year period, he said, savings could thus be about $2,800 per month.
Coffey characterized the energy-savings plan as a professional service.
“It did not need to be bid, according to our attorney, and it’s going to end up saving some money,” he said.
--Contact Bernard Schoenburg:, 788-1540,

Bank of Springfield to Sponsor Prairie Capital Convention Center’s New Outdoor Plaza Jenny

Springfield, Illinois (March 17, 2014)- Today the Springfield Metropolitan Exhibition and Auditorium Authority (S.M.E.A.A.) Board approved a contract that allows for the Bank of Springfield to hold exclusive sponsorship rights for the Prairie Capital Convention Center’s (PCCC) newly renovated plaza.

The BoS Plaza is the area located between the PCCC’s parking garage and their lobby. As part of their recent $16 million renovation, the PCCC had the previously unutilized space hard-scaped with the idea that it could be used as an outdoor event venue.  “This area was fine when the building was built over thirty years ago but had since become overgrown and underused,” said General Manager, Brian Oaks.  He continued, “On rainy days it was a mud pit, and on sunny days a dust bowl. I would look out my office window and think, ‘there has got to be something better for this space.’ And then it came to me; a way to use this space and fulfill a need for the City of Springfield: an outdoor venue in the heart of downtown.”

The BoS Plaza will be home to a new summer concert series as well as various other community events.  

“First off, I just want to thank Bank of Springfield for agreeing to partner with us on this new venture,” said Shawn Mayernick, the Director of Business Partnerships at the PCCC, “they are such a pillar of our community and we are very excited they see the same potential we saw in this new space. Having this one of a kind outdoor area gives us the opportunity to add events that will help us increase our economic impact. On average we drive $72 million throughout the year which sustains roughly 400 jobs in the area. ”  

Along with signage the Bank of Springfield will also receive a VIP Suite to be located in the adjacent parking garage that is owned and operated by the Prairie Capital Convention Center. The PCCC will create a unique space in the garage for Bank of Springfield and their guests to view the concerts they plan to hold on the BoS Plaza.

Sponsorship of the plaza is the first of many initiatives to find alternate sources of income for the PCCC.  “Sponsorships and naming rights are an important part of the future growth of the PCCC. We have worked really hard over the past 7 years to make this building and all of it assets something worthy of putting your name on. We have a building and a brand we are really proud of and it is great to see that other members of the community agree. The BoS Plaza is a huge accomplishment and hopefully the first of many more exciting community partnerships,” adds Oaks.



A Summary of the PCCC Renovations

*Newly renovated Lower Level Meeting Rooms, including Grand Ball Room

*Addition of North and South Main Hall Bathrooms

*Remodel of all existing Mezzanine and Lower Level Bathrooms

*Addition of North and South upper level terraces that provide additional merchandise, concession and event space on the Mezzanine Level

*New and expanded lobby that has over doubled in size




Brian Oaks
1 Convention Center Plaza
Springfield, IL 62701
Ph: 217-788-8800 


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