The Rock Lititz campus isn't going to make Lititz a capital of the live-event industry — for the simple reason that the area already has earned that distinction.
Rock Lititz is going to build on that foundation by bringing together multiple companies and services associated with the live-event industry. It's owned by principals from Clair Global and Tait, with Andrea Shirk as its program manager.
Shirk says the centerpiece of the Warwick Township campus is the Rock Lititz Studio for production rehearsal, on which construction is scheduled to conclude in August. It's “not only the first of its kind in the U.S. but also the largest in the world.”
“It's focused toward pre-production and tech rehearsals,” Shirk says, with all the capabilities needed to design, assemble, program and test an entire production before the first live performance. That includes staging, lighting, sound, video, sets and rigging.
“The entertainment industry needed a facility like this, because it provides the only one-stop shop for all pre-productions in the U.S. and is close to critical vendors, like Clair Global and Tait,” Shirk says. “Prior, tours would have to rent out vacant arenas around the country and incur major shipping costs while addressing issues during the production rehearsal. Now, a tour will have a custom-designed rehearsal space and can more easily address issues and changes to their production with much less hassle.”
“The whole concept around making the live-event cluster one of the focuses of our attraction programs was hopefully to be able to work with them,” says John Biemiller, interim president of both the Economic Development Co. of Lancaster County and the associated EDC Finance Corp. “There's truly a competitive advantage to being here versus other locations, so we have something we can actually go out and market.”
According to Shirk, the master plan is to completely develop the 96-acre campus around the studio over the next 10 years or so. The next facility “will be a multi-tenant building that will house companies that provide services to the live-event industry,” and plans for its development are underway.
On the cost of the campus, Shirk will say only that completing it will take “a significant investment.” On its potential to create jobs, she says there could be as many as 600 new ones, ranging from skilled labor to engineering and design, plus growth in the many support services required.
The campus is already keeping local businesses busy, as it's using the services of Elizabeth Township-based Pelger Construction, Lititz-based Derck & Edson Associates, Manheim Township-based Beers & Hoffman, Lititz-based LandStudies, East Earl Township-based E.H. Beiler Industrial Services LLC, West Hempfield Township-based Abel Construction Co. Inc. and Warwick Township-based Bottom Line Contracting Inc.
Daniel Zimmerman, Warwick Township manager, notes that in addition to creating jobs, the campus development will help to preserve area farms. That's because of the municipality's zoning requirements that the project be offset via transferrable development rights.
“A project that size, you could preserve another 15 to 17 farms,” Zimmerman says. “That's a pretty nice balance.”