Developers pitch 8,500-seat amphitheater to City of Longview

Managing Principal Jim Leslie said the venue would belong to the city and Red Cat would pay for construction and maintenance of the venue.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 12:23 PM CDT|Updated: May. 13, 2022 at 10:46 PM CDT
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LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - Seeking a $12 million investment from the city, a development group is seeking to build an 8,500-seat amphitheater off of I-20 in Longview.

Red Cat Projects is the name of the company seeking to build the amphitheater. In a presentation Thursday night, CEO Steve Powers said the venue would be at the intersection of I-20 and Estes Parkway and serve as a “new and convenient location for touring artists.” Powers said with Longview located between two hubs like Dallas and Shreveport, big acts would be attracted to the stop.

“Artists like Kenny Chesney have been driving past this location for years,” Powers said. “This will just be another stop on the tour.”

Managing Principal Jim Leslie said the venue would belong to the city and Red Cat would pay for construction and maintenance. Mayor Andy Mack said the city would be responsible for a one-time payment to the company for $12 million.

Mack was clearly excited about the prospect.

“They are going to build,” Mack said. “They’re responsible for construction costs. We are not. We’re the last money in. We wouldn’t pay anything until it is complete. We own it. They operate it.”

Mack said the city would get a return on the investment within two years.

“We’ve been looking for something to stimulate growth in that area,” Mack said. “I see this as a lightning bolt. Every piece of real estate in that area would be gobbled up.”

Powers played a video message from country singer and Longview resident Neal McCoy, who also supports the proposed venue.

“Way to go Longview, I’m proud of you,” McCoy said.

McCoy joked that he’d like a part of the venue named after him.

“Maybe the Neal McCoy men’s restroom, I don’t know,” he said.

District 3 Councilman Wray Wade also seemed supportive of the venue.

“This gives Longview a chance to be proactive, instead of reactive like we normally are,” he said.

The city council did not take action, as it was listed as a presentation on the agenda. Mack said discussion with the developers would continue.

Powers said the venue would have full concessions and enough bathrooms to keep long lines from forming.

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