By Jacob Sturm
The Mustang Times
MUSTANG – Organizers hope construction will start next January on a 12,000-seat amphitheater in eastern Canadian County.
Notes Live has announced plans to build the Sunset Amphitheater just east of the John Kilpatrick Turnpike near S.W. 15th Street and Sara Road.
They hosted a presentation about the project on Oct. 25 at the Mustang Performing Arts Center.
This allowed community members to provide feedback before the group files the project with the Oklahoma City Planning Commission.
Bob Mudd, vice president of real estate development on the project team for Notes Live, led the recent presentation.
Mudd indicated the group would not come into places where they cannot be viewed as an asset to the city.
He offered a history of Notes Live, with his presentation including some other amphitheaters the company has constructed.
“We assessed dozens of sites to consider its proximity to population, its ability to have ingress and egress for parking and traffic, and its impact on local neighborhoods as well because obviously sound is one of the concerns,” Mudd said of the Sunset Amphitheater proposal.
“We believe we have found an exceptional location that is tucked into the southeast corner of I-40 and the John Kilpatrick (Turnpike).”
Notes Lives anticipates hosting 50-60 shows per year at its new amphitheater.
The facility will be very flexible, Mudd noted, adding that the lower bowl could function as an independent venue with 2,000 seats.
“We are in the hospitality business, and we’re not just in the hospitality business to try to sell tickets,” Mudd said. “Our company focuses on a premium hospitality experience.”
Noise will be aimed away from all residential areas and no tailgating will be allowed in the parking lots, he added.
A thorough traffic study will be conducted, and every intersection impacted will be graded. This also will be submitted to Oklahoma City’s planning department.
Mudd addressed traffic concerns, saying emptying the location in 40 minutes will be the longest time allowed before they would hesitate to build the structure. Notes Live has brought in experts to make sure that time frame is possible.
Carol Hefner, the co-owner and agent of record on the sale of the property where the amphitheater will be located, hopes construction will start in January 2024.
Since the announcement about the project coming to the Mustang/Yukon area, Hefner said nearly 40% of the Sunset Suites have been claimed.
“There are 120 firepit suites, which are elevated with generous seating that is moveable,” Hefner said. “They are served by waitstaff privately from an extensive menu.”
Suite owners hold ownership for their lifetimes and will receive returns on their investments through every ticket sold at the venue.
About 130 more inquiries have been made about the amphitheater suites, which cost $250,000 or $500,000.
The Mustang Creek Crossing development will cover about 280 acres, and Hefner’s ownership group owns multiple corners of the Mustang Road/15th Street intersection.
The amphitheater will sit on 21 acres in the development.
“The stage will be positioned to the south, backing to the south so that all of the noise, all of the sound will be abated, but it will go to the north,” Hefner said. “So, it will not impact any of the neighboring areas (and) the residential areas.”
Parking for the amphitheater will be to the north and east.
The parking area is not anticipated to be used year-round, with most of the 60 shows each year happening between May and October.
Hefner anticipates the parking will be utilized for other things during the months that shows are not scheduled.
“We’ve decided to establish walking trails and green spaces around the water features,” Hefner said. “This should be a fun place to come stay, hang out, spend the day or even the weekend.”
The group will be really discriminating about hotel providers to make sure they have meeting spaces for community activities, she added.
Once operational, the Sunset Amphitheater project is expected to bring $180 million in economic revenue to Oklahoma City and Canadian County.
Public input is welcome.
“We’re trying to fulfill the neighbors’ and the residents’ wish list with regard to cool entertainment and experience zone provisions,” Hefner said.
Hefner said the group wants their property – all of which is zoned commercial – to be something that accentuates and improves the lives of the people living around it.