UPAC op­er­a­tor seeks in­vestor

In­vestor would have 99 per­cent stake, qual­ify for tax cred­its for at least five years

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­line.com paulat­free­man on Twit­ter

The own­ers of the Ul­ster Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter are look­ing for a pri­vate in­vestor to raise nearly $1.4 mil­lion for im­prove­ments at the Broad­way The­ater.

Chris Silva, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Bar­davon 1869 Opera House Inc., which op­er­ates UPAC, said the non-profit the­ater wants a for-profit in­vestor to fun­nel $1,393,000 into its cof­fers. In ex­change, he said, the in­vestor would be­come 99 per­cent owner and would be able to ac­cess state and fed­eral his­toric tax cred­its for at least five years as part of a fed­eral pro­gram.

The Fed­eral His­toric Preser­va­tion Tax In­cen­tives pro­gram “en­cour­ages pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment in the re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and re­use of his­toric build­ings,” ac­cord­ing to the U.S. Depart­ment of In­te­rior’s web­site.

Un­der its pro­posal, Bar­davon would con­tinue to op­er­ate the the­ater and make de­ci­sions on per­son­nel and artis­tic mat­ters, Silva said. The­ater would re­main tax ex­empt, he said.

“In order to make the deal as at­trac­tive as pos­si­ble to the po­ten­tial for­profit (in­vestor), we need to show annual pos­i­tive net in­come over the com­pli­ance pe­riod,” Silva said via email “If we had to pay taxes, that would be im­pos­si­ble to do.”

Silva said the Bar­davon will make lo­cal re­quests in the com­ing weeks.

“... We are re­quest­ing through the Ul­ster County In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Agency, the city, county, and school board al­low the for-profit cor­po­ra­tion we part­ner with to be tax ex-

empt dur­ing the com­pli­ance pe­riod,” Silva said.

Silva said the Bar­davon as al­ready been given per­mis­sion to pro­ceed with the ef­fort by state and fed­eral of­fi­cials.

Silva says a $4.7 mil­lion ren­o­va­tion project is planned for 2017.

“The com­ple­tion of ... es­sen­tial cap­i­tal work in 2017 will se­cure UPAC’s his­toric struc­ture for present and fu­ture au­di­ences, al­low the the­ater to be open for a longer annual per­for­mance sea­son; and strengthen its role as a ma­jor Ul­ster County and city of Kingston cul­tural and eco­nomic an­chor,” a state­ment reads.

Silva said that the Bar­davon has raised $3,366,010 to­ward the $4,759,010 needed to com­plete the cap­i­tal im­prove­ments, in­clud­ing in­clude a new cool­ing and heat­ing sys­tem. The lack of a cool­ing sys­tem that works prop­erly forces the the­ater to close dur­ing the warmer months, he said. “In order to fi­nance the fi­nal $1,393,000, we will look for an in­vestor part­ner to in­vest in ex­change for state and fed­eral his­toric tax cred­its,” the state­ment says.

The lat­est push by UPAC also in­cludes a re­newed hope that the com­mu­nity can sup­port this “cam­paign through our ‘Name a Seat Pro­gram’ and/or our Busi­ness Coun­cil Mem­ber­ship,” Silva said.

The state­ment lists a va­ri­ety of rea­sons why lo­cal of­fi­cials should sup­port the tax credit deal:

• It would help pre­serve the the­ater, which is rec­og­nized as the main an­chor of the Mid­town Arts District, for the com­mu­nity.

• A new heat­ing, ven­ti­la­tion and air con­di­tion­ing sys­tem would en­able the the­ater to re­main open through the sum­mer months, “draw­ing thou­sands more visi­tors to the neigh­bor­hood and its busi­nesses dur­ing a pe­riod that has been tra­di­tion­ally quiet, with very few cul­tural tourists.”

• It would triple pub­lic rest room fa­cil­i­ties, which at present are “woe­fully de­fi­cient,” with three toi­lets on the orches­tra level serv­ing 1,000 pa­trons.

• It would in­crease pub­lic safety in the the­ater with up­grades in alarm sys­tems and emer­gency light­ing.

• It would in­crease city and county sales tax rev­enues from lo­cal busi­nesses and Bar­davon con­ces­sion sales.

• Sig­nif­i­cant re­pairs and up­grades nec­es­sary to prop­erly serve au­di­ences would cre­ate about 100 short-term con­struc­tion jobs.

“The the­ater has cre­ated and con­tin­ues to pro­vide a sig­nif­i­cant rip­ple ef­fect across the city and county, of­fer­ing sub­stan­tial in­cen­tive to ex­ist­ing and prospec­tive new busi­nesses to op­er­ate in the re­gion,” the state­ment said. “Since the Bar­davon took over man­age­ment of UPAC in 2006, the av­er­age annual num­ber of events has grown from 15 to 30, and au­di­ences vis­it­ing Mid­town have grown from 15,000 to 30,000.”

Since 2006, the Bar­davon has in­vested $3 mil­lion in restora­tion and im­prove­ments to the Broad­way com­plex, the state­ment said.

TOM LEE PHOTO

A look at the in­side of the Ul­ster Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter.

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