The Performing Arts Committee
Appointed by L. Douglas Wilder
Mayor Wilder, City of Richmond
Mayor Wilder’s “City of the Future” initiatives, the City of Richmond
is making significant capital investments in many vital projects for
the citizens of the City of Richmond, including the Carpenter Center
for the Performing Arts (“CCPA”) and the Landmark Theater
(“Landmark”). Investing in these performing arts projects will enable
our citizens to realize and enjoy an enhanced quality of life as well
as a vibrant, diverse and growing performing arts community. In
addition, these investments will help us reach other key community
goals, including Broad Street revitalization, economic development,
arts education and historical preservation.
December 2005, Mayor Wilder appointed a nine-member Performing Arts
Committee (“Committee”) to study the master plan of the Virginia
Performing Arts Foundation (“Foundation”) and to make near-term,
actionable recommendations about the Carpenter Center for the
Performing Arts and Landmark Theater that could be incorporated into
Mayor Wilder’s City of the Future initiatives. The Committee is
comprised of the following nine community and business leaders.
Robert Grey, Chair
appropriately carry out its assignment, the Committee formed two
Subcommittees – the Design Subcommittee led by Wallace Stettinius and
the Finance Subcommittee led by Thomas Farrell.
Subcommittees gained an in-depth understanding of the needs and
aspirations of our performing arts community. Equally important, the
Subcommittees considered the financial funds available to renovate the
CCPA and to construct new facilities adjacent to the CCPA. Currently,
these resources include “City of the Future” funds, cash and pledges on
hand and estimated historic tax credits. In making its recommendations,
the Committee considered the best use of the collective resources
available both to support the CCPA and the Landmark and to meet the
needs of the arts organizations and the Greater Richmond community.
On May 1,
2006, the Committee delivered its initial Interim Report to Mayor Wilder
and recommended two alternatives for the CCPA:
A $45 Million “Base Plan” that is supported by the funding
currently available to meet many of the needs of the public, arts
organizations and patrons. The Base Plan includes major renovation and
improvements to the CCPA, bringing its total size to over 75,000 square
A $65 Million “Enhanced Plan” that would meet most of the needs
and aspirations of Richmond’s growing and diverse arts community. This
plan includes additional improvements to the CCPA, beyond the Base Plan,
and provides several new adjacent performing venues and other facilities
for the public and arts groups, forming a 155,000+ square foot
Performing Arts Center (“Center”)
Committee concluded its recommendations in this area by stating that:
“If the community can demonstrate its ability and commitment to
raise an additional $20 Million by the end of the year, the Committee
would support the recommendation to pursue the Enhanced Plan.”
Interim Report listed “Key Phases and Timetables” covering action steps
to be taken by the Foundation and the arts community between May 1st
and September 1st, the date of this second Interim Report.
Accordingly, the following sections summarize the Committee’s report and
recommendations which are based on the Committee’s understanding and
assessment of the progress made on each of the key phases, as of
September 1st, covering fundraising for the Enhanced Plan,
design and construction plans, facilities management, pro forma
financial projections, governance and organizational structures - as
well as landscaping the construction site at Broad and 6th
Streets. The last section of this Interim Report includes the
Committee’s recommendations for certain improvements at the Landmark.
Fundraising Assessment for the Enhanced Plan
and June, the Foundation engaged a fundraising consulting firm to
independently test the feasibility of raising $20 Million by December
31, 2006, the deadline for reaching the $20 Million Enhanced Plan goal.
The firm interviewed 56 business and community leaders who collectively
said that raising the $20 Million would be a challenge, due to the short
time frame, but that it was clearly doable in light of the compelling
case for the Enhanced Plan. The study’s participants also believed that
the Enhanced Plan was an essential component of Richmond’s quality of
life experiences, our arts and culture and downtown revitalization.
They indicated that our community would be willing to make significant
investments in both time and money toward the Enhanced Plan.
Fundraising. The Foundation reports that, based on the findings and
recommendations of the feasibility study, the Foundation established a
Campaign Cabinet, organized into two fundraising teams and set monetary
goals and timetables to raise the $20 Million. The Campaign Cabinet
currently has 18 members made up of the Foundation’s Board, Executive
Committee, business leaders and supporters of the performing arts. Led
by Sue Fitz-Hugh and Jim Ukrop, this team is focusing on individuals and
private foundations. Two or more members of that team personally meet
with each potential investor, present details of the Enhanced Plan,
discuss key issues and opportunities and ask for his or her support.
Led by Tom Farrell, the Campaign’s corporate team is presenting
investment opportunities to the CEOs of Richmond’s corporate community.
Foundation reports that its efforts are aimed to involve over 250
individual contributors, corporate executives, foundations, as well as
the help of elected officials to ensure completion of the Enhanced
Plan. In summary, the Foundation reports that the $20 Million campaign
is moving forward strategically and that it will publicly announce key
milestones as they are reached.
Existing Pledges. In May’s Interim Report, the Foundation reported
that it had $10 Million in cash and pledges on hand. Since about
one-half of this amount is previous pledges being paid over time, the
Campaign Cabinet has been meeting privately with these key supporters to
share with them the Enhanced Plan and reconfirm their commitment to
honor their pledges.
Regarding Enhanced Plan
with the fundraising goals to achieve the Enhanced Plan is the need to
advance design and construction plans. Accordingly:
The Foundation will report to the Committee fundraising
milestones as they are reached in the weeks and months ahead,
The key planning, design and construction phases of the
project have appropriate “Go / No Go” decision points, and
The construction plans call for September 2009 as the
completion date and for the grand opening of the Performing Arts Center.
the latest plans for floors 1 and 2 of the Enhanced Plan are enclosed.
Foundation and its architects and contractors have prepared detailed
project plans and timelines. The enclosed chart highlights key program,
design and construction steps, major deliverables, decision dates and an
opening night in September 2009. The Committee recommends that, as the
Enhanced Plan is carried out, the Foundation report the results to the
Committee and to the City, as requested, when milestones and key
decision points are reached.
The Federal and Virginia Historic Tax
Credit Programs help organizations and developers finance important
rehabilitation projects. Most groups rehabilitating historic theaters,
including the Virginia Performing Arts Foundation (“Foundation”), are
not-for-profit groups that cannot use historic tax credits themselves.
The Committee recognizes that there are different ways to approach the
issue of using historical tax credits. After carefully considering
several, the Committee recommends creating a for-profit entity to
undertake the renovation and construction of the Enhanced Plan. The
for-profit entity would include one or more investors who, as limited
partners, would use the tax credits generated by the renovation and, in
return, contribute equity to the project and would be a valuable source
of funds to complete the Enhanced Plan.
Since a significant investment is being
proposed for the renovation and expansion of the CCPA, the
Committee understands that syndicating both Federal and Virginia
historic tax credits would generate approximately $12 Million of cash.
These funds are critical to financing CCPA’s renovation and expansion
and are a key financial component of the $45 Million Base Plan and the
overall $65 Million Enhanced Plan.
Similar renovations that have successfully earned both Federal and state
historic tax credits have used a for-profit Limited Liability
Partnership (“LLP”) as the for-profit entity. In this case, the
Performing Art Center Limited Liability Partnership (“PAC LLP”)
would serve as the for-profit entity to earn tax credits and convert
them into cash. It would then partner with a bank or other large
established Company that would like to reduce its tax liability by
obtaining the historic tax credits. The Company serves as the “equity
investor” and is the “Limited Partner” in PAC LLP.
Under this plan, the General Partner of the Limited Liability
Partnership would be a newly formed, for-profit Corporation, called the
Grace Street Center Corporation (“GSCC”). The newly formed for-profit
Corporation that serves as the “General Partner” would have voting
control over the Partnership and its Board of Directors would make key
renovation and construction decisions. The Board of Directors of GSCC
would consist of the following seven Members:
The Foundation, on behalf of the arts groups, will
appoint three Members.
The City of Richmond, on behalf of the public, will
appoint three Members.
The above six Board Members will nominate and elect
the seventh Member who will serve as Chair of the Board.
If this plan is followed, the Committee recommends that the seven
Members of GSCC’s Board should collectively have appropriate experience
in community leadership, design and construction management, historic
renovation, historic tax credits and project finance.
Since, under this plan, PAC LLP would be responsible for carrying out
the Enhanced Plan, the General Partner would have specific roles and
responsibilities to ensure that the CCPA is renovated and expanded and
that the new, adjacent performing arts facilities are constructed – as
planned and specified by the Foundation and agreed to by the Committee
and as required for the project for the historic tax credit applications
to receive final certification. As discussed in the following section,
the Committee recommends that the Center be managed by a separate
management entity. Accordingly, while PAC LLP would be a party to the
facilities management agreement, it would not have day-to-day
responsibilities for the Center’s management and operations.
Consideration and RFP
initial report, the Committee stated: “To realize the greatest potential
for efficiencies in operations, effectiveness in marketing and fairness
in access, the Committee recommends that “management” of the Center and
the Landmark should be performed by a separate entity with public and
private Board appointees who represent our constituents and have
subject-matter knowledge and expertise.”
Committee recommends that leaders of the Foundation and City of Richmond
work together to form a separate management entity, appoint the Board
and formalize the facilities management agreement by spring of 2007.
The Committee recommends that the facilities management entity would:
Represent the City of Richmond, the Foundation and the
numerous and diverse arts organizations and other users of the
Direct the ongoing management and operations of both
the Landmark and the Center and operate the facilities to meet
Be responsible for procuring and overseeing any
management services provided by one or more specialist companies that
might be selected as subcontractors through a “Request for Proposal”
Work closely with the Foundation and arts
organizations in annual fundraising and endowment development
Committee will work with the City and the Foundation representatives to
discuss the composition of the Board, type of management entity,
financial goals, terms and conditions of management agreements and
Forma and Financial Projections
Committee’s request, the Foundation has been working with the leading
performing arts groups to develop “pro forma” operating statements that
model and project the combined financial operations of the Landmark
Theater (“Landmark”) and the Center. The pro forma financial
projections are based on historical information as well as effective
“business models” that arts organizations in other cities use to
coordinate and manage operations.
Committee and the Foundation recognize that the key assumptions used to
produce the pro forma financial projections need to be agreed to by the
Foundation, the City of Richmond, the facilities management organization
and the arts groups that use the facilities. The pro forma financial
projections being prepared by the Foundation and to be reviewed by the
City and the Committee will be based on the following assumptions:
Projected usage days within the Landmark and CCPA
would be based on:
Discussions with Symphony, Opera, Ballet, etc.
Based on prior years’ community events, holiday
Projections would be based on the event booking,
Almost all major Broadway Promoter (“BP”) events
would be at the Landmark. Since “blockbuster shows” would want
access to most seats possible, Landmark would be the venue for the
big BP shows, with smaller Broadway and other commercial productions
Most Richmond Symphony, Virginia Opera and Richmond
Ballet events would be held at CCPA, with priority scheduling.
Smaller community events, including those related to
the educational program, would be held in the Community Playhouse.
Daily rates projected at the Landmark and CCPA range
Commercial rehearsals and performances would be
based on commercial rates, and
Not-for-profit community groups would be about half
of commercial rates; no significant change in rental rates for local
not-for-profit performing arts organizations
Additional revenue from “at-risk presentations” and
Broadway Promoter series that would be consistent with facilities
Corporate sponsorships of Broadway series and other
performances that would be consistent with prior-year and other
Projected leadership and staff positions would be
based on “best practice” guidelines and operating requirements of the
Projections would include operating expenses for all
utilities, maintenance, janitor and security, etc. at the Landmark and
Pro forma would include all operating expenses for the
Landmark and Center; but exclude capital maintenance/building repairs
at Landmark and Center.
While maintenance and repairs for the
Center may be less in the early years, the Committee recommends that
financial projections include sufficient amounts to plan for and
provide funds for capital maintenance and major repairs.
City of Richmond plan
for capital maintenance and major repairs for the Landmark.
Committee recommends that the Foundation and participating arts
organizations continue to study operating best practice and peer group
data. Additionally, the operating pro forma assumptions and management
projections need to be continually refined, discussed and reviewed with
the City of Richmond, the Foundation and the Board of the facilities
management entity. Finally, the Committee continues to encourage the
raising of endowment funds over the long term to support facility
operations, stabilize rental rates for arts groups, help fund major
repairs and reduce the amounts of operating subsidy that the Foundation
and the arts community would need to raise each year.
Landscaping of Construction Site – Broad and
Committee understands that the Foundation is carrying out the necessary
steps to fill in the hole and landscape the construction site at Broad
and 6th Streets, including the following:
Develop site plans, including designs to fill the
construction hole, landscape along Broad Street, rebuild sidewalk
vaults, fence the construction area and enclose the SEQ structure for
Meet with and receive approval from Community
Development Authority (“CDA”) for site plan and CDA compliance
Complete necessary documents and submit them to the
City of Richmond for review and appropriate construction permits
Engage construction manager to ensure that project is
completed on time and within budget (completed).
Advertise and solicit bids for contractor to fill
hole, landscape and carry out other necessary work
Carry out construction plans – fill construction hole,
landscape, install sidewalks, fence area and enclose SEQ structure by
Committee understands that funds necessary to complete this project are
being provided by the Foundation and are not part of the $65 Million
funds related to the Enhanced Plan.
Landmark Theater Improvements
Theater was built in the late 1920s and, over the years, the 175,000
square foot facility has served both as a municipal auditorium for
graduations, lectures, etc. and a performing arts venue for the
Symphony, Ballet, Opera, touring Broadway productions, special headliner
performer concerts and the Richmond Forum.
has a key ongoing role in Richmond’s performing arts, especially as the
home of the Richmond Forum and the venue for touring Broadway shows and
“blockbuster” music tours that need a large audience capacity to be
economically successful. Mayor Wilder recognizes the Landmark’s
importance and his “City of the Future” initiatives include over $4
Million for improvements.
Subcommittee reviewed the Landmark plans and had numerous discussions
with arts groups and subject-matter experts. The Committee recommends
that the funds for Landmark improvements be allocated between “back of
house” improvements to draw more commercial productions and “front of
house” improvements to better serve Landmark patrons, including:
Loading Dock Facility, approximately $2 Million. Loading
in of Broadway road shows currently is a very inefficient and tedious
process. Major touring shows have many trucks and they must unload
one-at-a-time onto a platform lift to the stage. As a result, some
shows either do not bother coming to Richmond or they come and do not
unload all the scenery and staging because of loading dock problems. To
make the loading process more efficient and safer, a redesign would
provide a new, two-bay loading facility at stage level with better stage
Acoustical Reflector, approximately $350,000. Sound in
the Landmark could be significantly improved by adding acoustical
material and reflectors within the theater.
Expanded Restroom Facilities and ADA Compliance,
approximately $2 Million. The Landmark needs more and better restrooms;
adding more restrooms and providing ADA accessibility would
significantly enhance patron experiences.
Painting of Theater’s interior, approximately $100,000.
While much of the Landmark’s interior paint problems relate to air and
moisture issues, fresh coats of paint in key theater and lobby areas
would be another improvement noticed by all.
years, as additional capital resources become available, the Committee
recommends additional long-term improvements could include further stage
house improvements, additional dressing rooms and increased lobby
and Next Steps
the Committee believes that the City of Richmond, the Foundation and the
arts community have taken major steps together to enhance Richmond’s
quality of life, promote Broad Street revitalization and economic
development, enhance arts education, ensure historical preservation and
help meet the needs and aspirations of our diverse arts community. In
addition to the areas reported on above, the Committee understands that
the arts, business and educational community are focusing on educational
programming, community engagement, marketing and collaborative visual
and performing arts activities. While all of these activities are
important to the community, the Committee believes that the highest
priorities in the months ahead will be:
Achieving the $20 Million fundraising goal for the
Recommending governance and organizational structures
of the Center,
Completing 50% of the Design documentation of the
Landscaping of construction site at Broad and 6th
Completing the details for a recommendation on the
facilities management entity and related financial pro forma,
Coordinating the schedule of Landmark Theater
Completing of design for construction – April 2007,
Issuing RFP for construction – June 2007
Planning Grand Openings of the Center’s facilities –
Committee is committed to doing its part to help ensure that these
important projects stay on track and on time – and that communications
are open and timely. Because of the importance of the above areas, each
will continue to be closely reviewed and the Committee will fully report
on each activity in its Final Report, which will be issued on December
31, 2006. In the meanwhile, the Committee welcomes questions and
comments from the arts community and the citizens of the City of
End of Report
Draft of Enhanced
Plan’s Floor 1
Draft of Enhanced
Plan’s Floor 2
and Construction Timetable