Columbia Music Arena now for sale

Cortney Throckmorton

December 6, 2012

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

The Columbia Music Arena, the center of a disturbing the peace controversy in recent months, is now for sale. Lee Scott, owner of the venue, says, in addition to the Columbia, he is wanting to sell several other properties he owns.

“I’m going to sell them all if I can find a buyer for them,” Scott said. “My goal has always been to build the Columbia, not to own it, and not to run it. I just wanted to build something back there, and I think I’ve done a pretty good job of that.”

The Columbia came under fire because of the open roof above the concert stage. Several area residents and businesses complained that the music playing loud late at night when the rock bands were performing, disturbed the neighborhood. Scott argued that he got every permit he needed for the facility when he built it, and that moves to cut the hours and the decibel level was tantamount to trying to change the rules after he had jumped through all the necessary hoops to built it to begin with.

Several area residents and business operators turned out at Portsmouth City Council meeting’s to complain about the noise they say emanated from the Columbia, at 832 Gallia St. in Portsmouth. When the facility reopened with rock and country acts performing, a section of the roof was left open, which residents say allowed the sound to amplify throughout the neighborhood.

“My question would be, taking it from a closed to open air, if there was any research done,” Terry Ockerman, who operates The Lofts, said. “Maybe there was tons of research, I really don’t know.”

To add to the controversy, former Portsmouth Mayor and now Fourth Ward City Councilman James Kalb, managed the facility, putting him in a precarious situation when the discussions came up at Portsmouth City Council.

Meanwhile, Ockerman was citing the “Noise and Statutory Nuisance Act of 1993,” a act that deals with noise levels. Kalb argued that no ordinance in the city lists a specific decibel level on which to base any complaint. The whole situation put Scott at odds with Portsmouth City Council.

“I’m not giving up on it,” Scott said Thursday morning. “I’m going to put it up for sale and try to find owners who can work with people that I can’t seem to get along with. In the right hands it’s a great thing. So I’m going to see if I can find somebody for it. I have had several people interested in it, and I just figured I’d let them know that it’s available.”

Scott said he also is looking to sell “The Clock” Bar and Grill at 936 Ninth St, in Portsmouth. In all, Scott says he has ten properties for sale.

“We built our home several years ago in North Carolina, and we plan to live there eventually,” Scott said. “I’m handling it all myself. That way I can do the best deals on it.”

Scott said anyone interested in any of the properties can call him at 740-357-5005.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com.