TheatreSquared seeks money from tourism group
FAYETTEVILLE — TheatreSquared could get more taxpayer support if the Advertising and Promotion Commission decides to contribute to the nonprofit organization’s multimillion-dollar campaign for a new building downtown.
Commissioners on Monday got a presentation from TheatreSquared’s directors asking for a significant investment to bring the $31.5 million arts theater, bar, restaurant, entertainment and education hub to the corner of Spring Street and West Avenue.
TheatreSquared operates out of Nadine Baum Studios across the street from the proposed location.
Executive Director Martin Miller and Artistic Director Bob Ford asked the commission to consider matching the $3.1 million commitment the City Council made earlier this month toward construction of the building. The investment would get TheatreSquared closer to its $9 million public funding goal out of a $36 million overall campaign.
The Walton Family Foundation has awarded TheatreSquared a $9 million 1-to-2 challenge grant for construction and $3.5 million put toward the venue’s design. Miller said Monday Arvest Bank also approved a competitive $18.5 million construction loan for TheatreSquared.
TheatreSquared hopes to break ground this year and open in time for the 2019-20 season
The Advertising and Promotion Commission in November gave TheatreSquared $15,000 toward marketing as part of its regular grant-giving process.
Commissioners approved a $4.2 million overall operating budget this year. Half of the city’s 2 percent hotel, motel and restaurant sales tax goes to the advertising and promotion fund.
Miller said a long-term investment would go in line with the commission’s goals to promote and encourage tourism and to build public recreation facilities.
Nearly half of TheatreSquared’s audience comes from outside Fayetteville, he said.
The money also would go toward a basically permanent attraction.
TheatreSquared and the city agreed a lease renewable up to 100 years with no financial obligation. The city also would own the building.
Alderman Matthew Petty, who serves as the commission’s chairman, said he and Executive Director Molly Rawn would go over the proposal and present financial details to the commission at the next meeting April 19.