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Biggers abdicates from Bisbee Royale

Music venue ownership transferred to other investors

Doug Biggers, former Rialto Theatre honcho and the driving force behind the ongoing transformation of the Bisbee Royale, stepped down as managing director of that project on Friday, he said Tuesday.

Biggers said the commute between Tucson and Bisbee made impossible his continuing involvement as the managing director of the million-dollar renovation.

Ownership of the performance venue, slated to open this Saturday with a private concert by Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta, has been transferred to other investors in the project, Biggers said in a news release. The venue's public opening is scheduled for Aug. 2.

While neither the Royale's Facebook page nor website mentioned Biggers' departure, posting has continued on the Facebook page.

"It’s been an incredible experience to work with the residents of Bisbee to create this valuable resource for the community. I’m hopeful it will grow to become a genuine institution and serve the community for decades to come," Biggers said in the release. "That was certainly my intention from the beginning of the project."

"But after seven months of intensive effort on what turned out to be a nearly $1 million renovation, it became clear to me that I could not sustain a situation that required me to live in Tucson and commute to Bisbee a substantial portion of each week, given the demands of my home life. So, regrettably, I am leaving the launch and further development of The Royale in the capable hands of my erstwhile Bisbee colleagues. I wish The Royale success and have much fondness for the town and its residents," he said.

Biggers declined to comment beyond the release, saying it was the "definitive word from me on this matter."

"I'm disappointed, of course, that I won’t be able to realize the vision I had for the Bisbee Royale, while applying the decades of experience I have creating these special kinds of small companies," Biggers said.

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"But, sometimes you have to recognize your limitations and call it a day. I’m sure I have another cool project or two in me down the road. But for the moment, I plan to raise some chickens, catch up on my reading, and head for the wilderness as often as possible with my wife and kids. It’s excellent to be back in Tucson," he said.

In early 2011, Biggers founded the project, which transformed the former First Baptist Church at 94 Main St. in Bisbee in to a venue for live music, while working as the executive director of the Rialto Theatre Foundation. He took on the Royale project full-time after stepping down from the Rialto last December.

The Royale was first scheduled to open for New Year's Eve; the debut performance there has been pushed back several times since.

Biggers co-founded the Tucson Weekly in 1984, selling it to Wick Communications in 2000. He ran the Rialto Theatre for seven years.

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1 comment on this story

Jul 18, 2012, 1:36 pm
-2 +0

Meh, he’s better off. Bisbee is probably the worst town in the entire state…and I say that after having been to Nogales and Sells.

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courtesy Bisbee Royale/Facebook