UPAC investor effort has mayor’s support
Mayor Steve Noble says he supports the effort to lure a for-profit investor to help fund renovations at the Ulster Performing Arts Center’s on Broadway.
Noble said the funding plan put forth by the Bardavon 1869 Opera House, which has operated UPAC since 2006, is likely to help Midtown Kingston and the entire city.
“In order for UPAC to become an even greater asset to our community, resources must be secured to improve and enhance the facility,” Noble said in an email. “While the Bardavon has made great progress in its fundraising efforts, no local grants or resources have been identified to close
the funding gap.”
Chris Silva, the Bardavon’s executive director, has said there’s $3.3 million on hand for the UPAC project but another $1.4 million is needed. The planned work includes heating and air conditioning improvements, additional rest rooms and upgrades to alarms and emergency lighting.
The heating and air conditioning improvements would allow UPAC to operate year-round.
“I am supportive of the Bardavon’s proposal to establish a for-profit entity so that it may attract the investors necessary to assist UPAC in securing the final resources necessary
and finally become a true four-season theater,” Noble wrote.
Silva praised the mayor for supporting the effort.
“The mayor clearly understands how valuable UPAC is to the city and county and how important it is as an anchor of the Midtown Arts District,” he said in an email. “I have found that same understanding in all my conversations with [Kingston] Common Council members, [Ulster] County legislators and [Kingston] school board members. Everyone gets it.”
The city, county and school district are vital to the plan because any forprofit entity involved in UPAC, currently a not-forprofit operation, would be taxable, and the Bardavon wants to secure tax exemptions that all three, along
with the Ulster County Industrial Development Agency, would have to approve.
“I trust that the various entities currently evaluating this proposal will consider how important this institution is and how a fully operational UPAC can spur additional economic development in our region,” Nobble said.
Silva has said that in return for an investment of $1,393,000, the for-profit entity would become a 99 percent owner of UPAC and would be able to access state and federal historic tax credits for at least five years as part of a federal program.
The Bardavon would continue to operate UPAC and make decisions about personnel and artistic matters, Silva said.
Silva has said the planned improvements at UPAC would:
• Help preserve the theater.
• Allow it to operate during the summer, “drawing thousands more visitors to the neighborhood and its businesses during a period that has been traditionally quiet .... ”
• Create about 100 shortterm construction jobs.
• Triple the theater’s public rest room facilities.
• Improve public safety in the theater.
• Generate additional sales tax revenue due to increased sales at nearby businesses and UPAC concessions.
In the 10 years the Bardavon has operated UPAC, it has invested $3 million in restoring and improving the theater, Silva has said.