[ P L A C E S ] BY DREW ANNE SCARANTINO
A Star is
SINCE IT OPENED IN December 2003, the
Starland Ballroom has sold more than
1. 5 million tickets—more than any other
concert venue in New Jersey, its management claims. But for the past 10 months,
the Sayreville landmark has stood empty,
a victim of Hurricane Sandy. This month
the renovated Starland finally reopens.
Six feet of water from the South and
Raritan rivers swamped the venue during
Sandy, destroying its electrical system and
damaging walls, flooring and plumbing.
“No portion of the building was spared,”
says Colin Conway, general manager of
Starland and vice president of the promotion company AEG Live, which has
owned Starland since 2007 and whose
Jersey office is located at the venue. After
the storm, AEG Live canceled or moved
more than 40 Starland shows.
Following the storm, the building
was completely gutted, allowing for
some major improvements. Two walls
were partially reconfigured to improve
crowd flow and sight lines; the dressing
rooms were updated; and a new state-of-the-art lighting and sound system was
added—all while preserving the venue’s
cherished intimacy. Maximum capacity
remains at 2,500.
The renovations included structural
changes to mitigate future storm damage
and downtime. Electrical, telecommuni-
cations and fire/burglar alarm systems
were raised; wood flooring was replaced
with polished cement; and walls were PH
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