LEPAA to make second request for city land for new performing arts center

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Updated: 7/07/2013 9:47 am
"We have identified a location where we want to be able to build a performance hall, and I think that dovetails perfectly with the city's plan for downtown redevelopment."

Tim Collins, president of the Lubbock Entertainment and Performing Arts Association, said the non-profit has chosen the soon-to-be vacant Department of Public Safety headquarters as the site for a new performing arts center in Lubbock. 

"You know, we recognize the need for a performance space for the symphony, or ballet folklorico, or a lot of local users," Collins said. "We also create an opportunity for all kinds of Broadway productions and touring companies to come in and perform. But more importantly, this is an economic driver."

Collins said with great accessibility to the Marsha Sharp Freeway, the DPS building is the perfect location for the center, which will be entirely privately funded. He said they are also working on a shared parking plan with the Civic Center. 

"I think it's helpful that we have big parking spaces there already," Collins said, "and the events that you'd have at a performance hall are going to fit along perfectly with the kind of events that would occur at a civic center. "Then, you've got LHUCA next door, and the ballet coming close, so all of these come together to do exactly what that redevelopment plan said, and that's to create a cultural arts district." 

City Council delayed its decision on turning over the property during last week's meeting, concerned about who would pay for demolition, and what it would cost. 

"The question I've got is, 'If you want us to do a little bit more than transfer the land, and be involved in the demolition, how do we justify it?'"

Councilman Todd Klein estimated the demolition cost to be up to $250,000. 

"If that private group is raising that money, the $85 million, I think that's a beautiful thing," Klein said. "Could they absorb, as a part of their budget, that very small percentage that that cost would add?"

He said if the association won't pay for demolition, the city would consider it. 

"If not, then what is the request? Why would the request require us to provide that as a city as well?" Klein said. 

Council is requiring the association to raise $45 million before the property can be turned over. Collins said he hopes to present a more specific proposal to council at the July 25 meeting. 

In addition to raising $45 million, the council is also requiring the association to begin construction by December 31 of 2017. Collins said $20 million has been raised, and he hopes to announce the rest of the funding by late summer or early fall. 
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