Curtain call for Pantages?

City staffers are recommending that the City Council authorize a joint development agreement with the Broadway Center for the Performing...

City staffers are recommending that the City Council authorize a joint development agreement with the Broadway Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) for renovations to the Pantages Theater, according to a discussion at yesterday’s Government Performance and Finance Committee (GPFC) meeting. If the council votes to enter into the agreement, design development documents outlining $3.8 million in renovations to the theater could be completed next month, and work could begin as early as next spring, according to General Services Director Leslie Rowen.

Councilmembers could make a decision at their June 28 meeting.

“We’re asking for a pass recommendation in order to move forward,” said Rowen. The GPFC, which consists of Mayor Bill Baarsma and Councilmembers Julie Anderson, Kevin Phelps, and Mike Lonergan, lacked the quorum required yesterday to make that recommendation (Anderson and Phelps were absent). Councilmember Lonergan said that he would share information from the meeting with other councilmembers.

The BCPA, a non-profit organization that operates the city-owned Pantages (as well as the Rialto and Theatre on the Square) has identified $5.4 million in renovations and improvements to the 87-year-old building’s lobby, grand staircase, concession stands, ceilings, restrooms, and box office.

According to BCPA Executive Director Eli Ashley, however, renovation plans have been scaled back to approximately $3.8 million and will focus on the lobby, as well as additional restrooms on the mezzanine and balcony levels.

The full renovation would be something BCPA would pursue “down the road,” according to Ashley.

One reason for scaling back the project is the small window available to complete the renovation. “It’s a tight timeline,” said Rowen, “because work can’t begin until after the last performance of the 2005-2006 season. And programs are already scheduled for the 2006-2007 season.”

Fundraising is another factor for scaling back the project. According to Ashley, the BCPA has received donations and pledges of $1 million anonymously, $1 million from the city, and $675,000 from the state.

“Some funders want to know the scope of the project and see progress,” said Ashley. By scaling back and tackling the project in a phased approach, improvements could be made to the theater and fundraising could still continue in order to achieve the $5.4 million goal. “If we can continue to show progress, we can continue to raise funds.”

City staffers are also requesting that the council take $300,000 originally flagged for improvement to the Pantages’s stage, and instead redirect it to the renovation effort. “This money has been in the budget for a couple years now, and would be better spent on this remodel project,” said Rowen.

That decision could also be made at the June 28 city council meeting. If the council agrees to the joint agreement and redirection of funds, BCPA would transfer funds to the city Aug. 2 in order to pay architectural fees, a bid for contractors would be advertised Oct. 25, the council would decide on a construction contractor Jan. 10, and the Pantages would close for remodeling May 15. The theater would open again Oct. 12, 2006.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Stories