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MusicDome effort picks up steam

In the summer of 1991, the Tampa Port Authority unveiled its plans for a 20-acre waterfront entertainment center _ dubbed the Garrison Seaport Center.

In addition to the planned Florida Aquarium, a key attraction in the development was to be a privately financed music amphitheater that would sit atop a new cruise-ship terminal.

The $25-million MusicDome was touted as the ideal nighttime complement to the Aquarium's daytime anchor.

But that was more than a year ago. Since then, the structure of the team planning to develop the MusicDome has changed. And with the change has come a renewed commitment to see the music venue become a reality in Tampa, according to Grant Weyman, partner in charge of the project.

"We have a new group of financial partners from Germany joining with us to work on domestic amphitheater projects," Weyman said. "Tampa will be the first one."

Robert Geddes, the original point man forthe Tampa project, has shifted his focus to international markets over the past two years and appeared to have lost interest in Tampa. But Weyman took over domestic operations and brought in the new investors.

Those investors will be identified next week when Weyman sits down with the Port Authority to negotiate a lease, he said.

Geddes' Los Angeles company, Eric/Chandler Inc., is still the entertainment partner and will be responsible for booking the acts in the 15,000-seat venue, Weyman said.

Weyman was in town Tuesday and Wednesday to participate in Tampa's efforts to woo a group of investors proposing to build a multimillion dollar pirate museum/entertainment complex either here or in Boston. If Tampa is successful, the Whydah Pirate Complex will join the Aquarium, cruise-ship terminal and MusicDome as part of the Garrison Seaport Center.

The partners in the Whydah project are expected to announce their decision Monday.

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