$5.4M OK’d for Ponte Vedra Concert Hall ‘Balcony Project’


The St. Johns County Board of County Commissioners recently approved $5.4 million for Ponte Vedra Concert Hall’s “Balcony Project” with a unanimous vote of 5-0.

This approval comes at a monumental moment for the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division, which operates Ponte Vedra Concert Hall and The St. Augustine Amphitheatre. The Friends of the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall, a nonprofit advocacy group, was instrumental in representing the community support for this “Balcony Project” alongside the Cultural Events Division.

During the June 21 commissioner meeting, Commissioner Henry Dean moved to “get this transfer done immediately” in order for Ponte Vedra Concert Hall to get started on construction. Shortly after, Commissioner Jeremiah Blocker said he was “happy to make a motion.”

The approval of the “Balcony Project” and overall expansion of Ponte Vedra Concert Hall come at a time of extreme competitiveness within the entertainment industry as artists are eager to tour.

“We were ecstatic when we received the news,” said Gabriel Pellicer, general manager of the St. Johns County Cultural Events Division. “We look forward to elevating the venue experience for patrons and artists, and ultimately continuing to build upon the success of these past 10 years.”

The County Commission approved the “Balcony Project,” in part, due to the Cultural Events Division obtaining $8.9 million in grants from the SBA Shuttered Venues Operators Grant. The grant was established to support the live entertainment industry during uncertain economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although Ponte Vedra Concert Hall is owned by the county, the “Balcony Project” will have no effect on St. Johns County residents’ ad valorem tax dollars. However, the direct economic impact of this project to the county is expected to be positive for years to come.

“I am very excited that the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall expansion has received the full support of the Board of County Commissioners for an incredible expansion opportunity,” said Blocker. “Combining federal, state and local funding, our community will be the centerpiece of art and entertainment for Northeast Florida. This is an opportunity to enhance the quality of life for residents that we could not miss. Every resident of St. Johns County will have the opportunity to enjoy a world-class experience at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall with the leading entertainers on a global stage.”

Constructed from the foundation of a Baptist church in 2011, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall has solidified itself as a must-play venue amongst a vast array of artists and hosts up to 140 concerts and events each year.

Ponte Vedra Concert Hall’s diverse programming has brought some of the biggest names in live entertainment, including rock-and-roll legends like Graham Nash, Art Garfunkel and Lindsay Buckingham, emerging artists such as country-blues singer Charley Crockett and soulful bass-guitarist Thundercat, as well as renowned comedians like Kathleen Madigan and Rob Schneider.

“The Ponte Vedra Concert Hall is a treasure that improves the quality of life for all Northeast Florida residents and visitors,” said Steve Gard, former president of the Friends of the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall. “The completion of this project will fulfill a dream that began more than 10 years ago when the concert hall first opened its doors.”

The current plans for Ponte Vedra Concert Hall’s balcony include 190 stationary seats, with two rows on each side of the venue, and four rows in the rear. With this expansion, concert hall’s seating capacity will increase by 25% from 486 seats to 608.

Additional updates to the venue include enhanced food and beverage points of sale, updated restrooms, staircase, elevator as well as additional gathering spaces for patrons.

The “Balcony Project” will reimagine the existing building to optimize its current structure. Construction of “The Balcony Project” could begin as soon as late 2023. While under construction, Ponte Vedra Concert Hall will pause all programming and events.