Tag Archive for Randy Weeks

Utah Performing Arts Center Development Case Strengthened By City Successes

During a recent interview with KCPW, Utah’s first and only 24-hour commercial-free news and information radio station, three theater experts from Denver, Durham, N.C. and Dayton, Ohio discussed why theaters such as the proposed Utah Performing Arts Center in Salt Lake City are vital to the success of a City in a down economy and over the long term. The cost estimate for the proposed Utah Performing Arts Center is approximately $100 million, but other big theaters have made up for their initial cost in tenfold benefits to their cities.

A yearlong study commissioned by the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City and conducted by Garfield Traub Swisher, the Utah-based company selected by the RDA in October 2009 to develop the theater, identified a bevy of cultural and economic benefits the proposed Utah Performing Arts Center would bring to the capital city.

Here is a sample of what each expert had to say about their Performing Arts Center experiences:

Ken NeufeldSCHUSTER CENTER  REPRESENTATIVE KEN NEUFELD, President and CEO of the Victoria Theatre Association, operator of the Benjamin and Marian Schuster Center, the Victoria Theatre, and the Loft Theatre in Dayton, Ohio

KCPW: How did your community pay for your facilities?

Ken Neufeld: Public Private Partnership

  • $40 Million in Philanthropy
  • State, County and City Supporters
  • Regional Transit Authority with Federal Money
  • Bonds

KCPW: Was there an economic benefit to building your Performing Arts Center?

Ken Neufeld: “Dayton, Ohio was behind the scene and needed to be put in favorable position to recruit businesses and people. Statistically, arts amenities are one of the top three things people are looking for when moving or coming there. Over half of ticket sales for the Lion King Broadway show were made up of those who had never been to theater before, thus bringing in new customers for all businesses located around the Center. Performing arts centers are an infrastructure that smart cities have to have and it has paid off for Dayton a lot.”

KCPW: Did the new performing arts center take away from the other local arts facilities and are you just ticket shifting or actually getting more visitors?

Ken Neufeld: “There is no crossover. We know from studying our audience what other kinds of venues they go to and are engaged in. When we did “Wicked” the Symphony actually captured more buyers as new subscribers from the “Wicked” audience then we did. So, it actually went in the reverse and we developed more of an audience for them. Our market is very different from others.”

KCPW: You mentioned you have an historic theater already. Why invest in a larger theater if you already have a theater that can bring touring productions into town?

Ken Neufeld: “The idea of having a retrofitted old theater is never really an acceptable option. It is like a city that looks at their sewer system and says, “We can patch up those cast-iron pipes, they will last another 10 years.” But that is really not the smart idea in the long run. You really have to look at these buildings as part of a city’s infrastructure, and these arts centers are a part of a smart modern city’s infrastructure in order to attract businesses and people to move to the community. These amenities help people to do this.”

KCPW: Final advice as to whether the Utah Performing Arts Center should be built in this economy.

Ken Neufeld: In times of a recession you can benefit at getting a facility at a better budget point. In 30 years when everyone is still enjoying this facility and it is doing everything it should be doing, I don’t think anyone is going to be talking about the $100 million bond issue at that point. They are going to be slapping themselves on the back saying ‘wasn’t that a great decision?’”

 

Reginald James JohnsonDURHAM PERFORMING ARTS CENTER REPRESENTATIVE REGINALD JAMES JOHNSON, Interim Director of the Durham, North Carolina Department of Community Development

KCPW: How did your community pay for your facilities?

Reginald James Johnson: Public Private Partnership

 

  • $30 Million in certificates of participation paid by hotel occupancy taxes
  • Naming Rights Partnerships
  • Duke University provided $7.5 million

KCPW: Was there an economic benefit to building your Performing Arts Center?

Reginald James Johnson: The Durham Performing Arts Center opened in bad economy in 2008, and when the center first opened they sold out and restaurants surrounding it were thriving despite others in most other cities plummeting in sales.”

KCPW: You mentioned you have an historic theater already. Why invest in a larger theater if you already have a theater that can bring touring productions into town?

Reginald James Johnson: “Because we did not have one that could actually hold a Broadway play in Durham. Stage requirements did not accommodate all the equipment a Broadway theater needs in the historical theater and we wanted to have a Broadway play come to Durham.”

KCPW: Is this the right time? The economic climate is not great, as we all know. If you had to make this choice again in your respective cities, would you do this now?

“We can’t pull back in a down economy. Everything can’t just come to a halt. We have to keep moving forward regardless. We in Durham look toward the future and we have visions of what we want the quality of life to look like. And even now, we are doing the largest revitalization project we have ever done. We need to move forward in times like these because life goes on, and our children and our children’s children need to have something to benefit from.”

 

Randy WeeksDENVER CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS RANDY WEEKS, President of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

KCPW: How did your community pay for your facilities?

Randy Weeks: Public Private Partnership

 

 

  • Naming Rights Partnerships
  • Bond Issues
  • Facilities Development Admission Tax (FDA) – This tax comes from each ticket sold to service bonds, this tax has paid for the facility two times over

KCPW: Did the new performing arts center take away from the other local arts facilities and are you just ticket shifting or actually getting more visitors?

Randy Weeks: “The vibrancy of the local theater scene is really quite incredible and flourishing. We are feeding the cultural economy. The more exposure people have to an art form the more they want it.”

KCPW: Is this the right time? The economic climate is not great, as we all know. If you had to make this choice again in your respective cities, would you do this now?

Randy Weeks: “The main advice I would give is you should have done it 10 years ago, and putting it off more is just going to cost more. With the older structures and little amenities people just don’t want to go downtown anymore.”

In order for this state-of-the-art theater to be completed, the Utah Performing Arts Center needs to have the support of sponsors like you who would like to add their name as a “UPAC Playbill Partner” and receive regular project reports, upcoming UPAC Newsletters and exclusive, partners-only opportunities!

To see how other existing Performing Arts Centers have benefited their cities, visit the Utah Performing Arts Center website.

Utah Performing Arts Center Community Forum

Utah Performing Arts Center Map

Garfield Traub Swisher, the Utah Performing Arts Center development consultant to the Redevelopment Agency of Salt Lake City, would like to announce that a panel of representatives from around the country will talk about the successes and challenges of building performing arts centers in their cities. Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will invite and encourage audience members to join the dialogue.

When:
Wednesday, September 28, 7 p.m.
Salt Lake City Main Public Library Auditorium
210 East 400 South, Salt Lake City


Panelists:

Ken Neufeld

President and CEO of Victoria Theatre Association, Operator of the Schuster Center, the Victoria Theatre, and the Loft Theatre in Dayton, Ohio

KEN NEUFELD, President and CEO of Victoria Theatre Association, Operator of the Schuster Center, the Victoria Theatre, and the Loft Theatre in Dayton, Ohio

Mr. Neufeld is a 28-year veteran in executive management of performing arts centers, professional theatre companies and civic museums in the United States and Canada. He has developed a national reputation for successfully diversifying audiences and expanding programming to include under-served and nontraditional audiences. A creative thinker in dealing with economic downturns and urban revitalization, Mr. Neufeld has a reputation for being a collaborative arts and community partner with a track record in studying ways to share services for increased efficiency.

 

Reginald James Johnson

Interim Director of the Durham, North Carolina Department of Community Development

REGINALD JAMES JOHNSON, Interim Director of the Durham, North Carolina Department of Community Development

In addition to his Community Development responsibilities, Mr. Johnson is the liaison to Durham’s two city-owned theatres – the 1,000-seat Carolina Theatre built in 1926 and the 2,800-seat Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC), the largest theatre in North and South Carolina. From November 2003 through August 2011, Mr. Johnson was the senior assistant to the Durham city manager, advising Durham’s city manager on public policy and management issues and serving as the city manager’s liaison with the City Council and the Durham community.

 

Randy Weeks

President of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

RANDY WEEKS, President of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts

Mr. Weeks’ past titles include Executive Director of Denver Center Attractions and Theater Operations Manager for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. His career has been highlighted by securing Denver for the openings of the national tours of A Chorus Line, Sunset Boulevard, Carol Channing in Hello Dolly! and Disney’s The Lion King, as well as the pre-Broadway run of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. In addition to presenting up to 22 Broadway touring productions a year, Mr. Weeks added cabaret productions in the Garner Galleria Theatre to Denver Center Attractions’ offerings in 1992. He is a member of the Independent Presenter Network and serves as a Governor for the Broadway Theatre League.

Please visit the new Utah Performing Arts Center website to find out more about the goals and economic impact the development will have on Salt Lake City, Utah and how you too can get involved.

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