New hotel to follow Rock Lititz campus?
• The 52,000-square-foot Rock Lititz Studio is scheduled to open Sept. 20.
• Will U2, Madonna be first to test drive the arena-sized rehearsal facilities?
• Where will rock stars stay?
Rock Lititz next month will unveil Rock Lititz Production Studio, the first phase of its $100-million arena-sized campus where superstar acts will test-drive complex, mega-stage shows.
Getting the talent and technicians to Lititz is a snap thanks to the nearby Lancaster Airport that can accommodate a private jet from Vegas, L.A., or Nashville, or even a commuting helicopter from New York to within a few minutes drive to the $7- million, 52,000-square-foot studio.
But where will visiting rock stars like Bono, Katy Perry, Justine Timberlake, and Roger Waters stay when they come to process the intricacies of the new stage, sound, and lighting in the 100-foot-high proving grounds?
Several people — from local business leaders, government officials, and others in the entertainment industry — say a plan is in the pipeline to build a badly needed hotel in Lititz or Warwick Township.
But no one wants to go on record about it.
“There’s already a need (for lodging) without the campus but with (the campus) that need grows,” said one official who asked not be named.
That’s not news to the throngs of visitors who attended the Lititz Summer Showcase Soccer Tournament last month. Visiting players and families had to travel as far as Morgantown to find lodging.
“We need to look at other types of housing not just the high-end stuff,” said another official. “We know we need more (rooms) just on the activities going on in the area now.”
Rock Lititz is a collaboration that incorporates the talents of Lititz companies Clair Global and TAIT on a 96-acre campus that will stretch 1 million square feet behind Clair’s headquarters off West Newport Road.
Some officials have hinted that a hotel could be built right on the Rock Lititz campus.
“I hear rumors,” said Dan Zimmerman, Warwick Township manager. “But we’ve not gotten anything official or had anyone who talked to us directly about (a hotel).”
Rock Lititz, TAIT and Clair are very secretive about almost everything, especially its clients. It prefers to debut elaborate show sets on the opening night of a tour.
While it did not respond to a Lititz Record Express interview request this week, it has confirmed that the grand opening of the Rock Lititz Studio building is planned for Sept. 20.
Rock Lititz recently opened its doors for the Wall Street Journal, which last week reported that U2 was supposed to be the first group to occupy Rock Lititz’s Studio.
But the WSJ story suggested that’s been postponed since U2’s forthcoming album and tour have been postponed.
Rumors are swirling around Lititz that it will be Madonna. But who’ll be the first at Rock Lititz will remain a mystery — Madonna herself has not officially announced she’ll tour in 2015 .
However, Ticketek Australia, that country’s equivalent of Tickmaster, on July 16 updated its site to include a 2015 Madonna tour wait list.
Rumors have been circulating for some time that Madonna — who is TAIT and Clair client — would open her next tour in Australia. After the cancellation of the Australian leg of the MDNA tour in 2012, Madonna promised to bring Australia “the greatest show on earth.”
Certainly all of the components are in place at Rock Lititz to fulfill Madonna’s promise.
The Wall Street Journal revisited local stories about how Clair and TAIT renovated the “penthouse” floor of the General Sutter Inn, adding rock ‘n’ roll flair-lamps made from microphone stands, tables built out of road cases-for their visiting crews and clients.”
It mentions the Bulls Head Public House, “a British pub frequented by staffers, some of whom also favor the Toy Soldier, a nearby dive bar with an apartment upstairs that visiting crew members rent by the week.”
It’s logical that many, many more crews of engineers, staffers, and touring professionals will be coming for extended stays to the new Rock Lititz facilities.
It’s the only one-stop shop for all pre-productions in the U.S. and it will be the largest such facility in the world, according to Andrea Shirk, Rock Lititz program director.
Instead of dealing with the hassles involved in finding and renting an available, out-of-the-way arena to test the equipment, entertainment pros will come to Rock Lititz to measure staging with LED elements and other lighting effects, 3D animation, manual and automated rigging, and the logistics and transportation, that goes into setting up, breaking down, and shipping incredible stage designs.
Dynamic designs include cool gimmicks such as the sliding catwalk that allowed Justin Timberlake to traverse above the audience from the stage to the back of an arena on his last tour.
The next phase of the Rock Lititz project is to build facilities for vendors who specialize in live-entertainment. Those vendors will include another Lititz company, Atomic Design, which creates scenic custom fabrication for sets, often in conjunction with Clair and TAIT.
In an e-mail earlier this year, Adam Davis, — who co-owns TAIT with Michael Tait and James “Winky” Fairorth — responded to questions from the Lititz Record Express.
The expected expansion Davis envisions will no doubt change the local Lititz landscape and create a challenge to support visitors looking for lodging.
“The critical mass of live event companies in this area is unparalleled to anywhere else in the world,” Davis noted. “To say we’re committed to Lititz is an understatement. We’re actively recruiting more and more companies to join us.”
Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 721-445-5500.