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Old 06-04-2014, 05:13 PM
 
3,323 posts, read 5,188,387 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jpirate View Post
I don't know how I feel about the theatre. I'm all for development uptown, is there a market for that sort of thing in town? Why did the Washington Theatre close?
If ECU has productions in it, absolutely there is a market. Wright and other theaters on campus have horrible parking. Moving some uptown would help immensely.
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:17 PM
 
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The Turnage Theater in Washington was somewhat a victim of the downturn that really slowed tourist traffic in Washington. It was bought by Wells Fargo for about half a million (its completely renovated). The Beaufort County Arts Council is renting it, I believe, this summer for camps....

Beaufort County Arts Council & Turnage Theater

From what I recall, the Greenville theater is smaller than the Turnage. I would suggest that the Theater in Greenville either go this route (a community type theater) or go the route one did in downtown Wilmington, which has been a number of things, but now is the live music venue Ziggy's By the Sea...

Ziggy's by the Sea
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Old 06-04-2014, 05:59 PM
 
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My assumption is that what the movers and shakers are after is something more like the Carolina Theater in downtown Durham. They all visited Durham 2-3 years ago and Carl Rees has said Greenville's challenges are more like Durham's than any other example, i.e. tobacco town, university town, medical center/industry, and problem neighborhoods bordering downtown.

I doubt the old Park Theater in downtown Greenville is anywhere near the size of the Carolina Theater, but the concept could still work in Greenville.
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:33 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GoingLocal View Post
My assumption is that what the movers and shakers are after is something more like the Carolina Theater in downtown Durham. They all visited Durham 2-3 years ago and Carl Rees has said Greenville's challenges are more like Durham's than any other example, i.e. tobacco town, university town, medical center/industry, and problem neighborhoods bordering downtown.

I doubt the old Park Theater in downtown Greenville is anywhere near the size of the Carolina Theater, but the concept could still work in Greenville.
Maybe...I think the Wilmington example is a good one. They had Thalian Hall that already provided a good local theater venue (like ECU has Wright Auditorium) and also had a community theater...so the old movie theater just made sense to turn into a live music venue. Greenville does not have a community theater or a nicer live music venue (used to be the Attic)....so I think it could sway either way...but only the live music venue would be a money maker. The other would be a place for camps, etc...

And keep in mind that ECU is planning a larger performing Arts center (Wilmington is getting this with CFCC's) downtown. Again, I think they either utilize it as a community theater or sell it off for a live venue. But the decision needs to be made now before renovations take place.

My gut tells me that with the parking deck behind it and the college market that a live music venue makes economic sense, but the vendor would need some help with the renovation cost.
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:56 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HP91 View Post
Maybe...I think the Wilmington example is a good one. They had Thalian Hall that already provided a good local theater venue (like ECU has Wright Auditorium) and also had a community theater...so the old movie theater just made sense to turn into a live music venue. Greenville does not have a community theater or a nicer live music venue (used to be the Attic)....so I think it could sway either way...but only the live music venue would be a money maker. The other would be a place for camps, etc...

And keep in mind that ECU is planning a larger performing Arts center (Wilmington is getting this with CFCC's) downtown. Again, I think they either utilize it as a community theater or sell it off for a live venue. But the decision needs to be made now before renovations take place.

My gut tells me that with the parking deck behind it and the college market that a live music venue makes economic sense, but the vendor would need some help with the renovation cost.
The Carolina Theater has a combination of live music, theater, movies, film festivals and other events. However, these are smaller events and this venue doesn't compete with the DPAC, which attracts nationals shows, and is located just 3-4 blocks away. Not that Greenville has the same level of demand for entertainment that Durham and the Triangle have.

I agree that live music could be the biggest single money maker, but I think the goal is to attract a lot of different kind of people back downtown. Having only one kind of entertainment might not draw as well as having a variety.

Last edited by GoingLocal; 06-04-2014 at 08:19 PM.. Reason: left out word and misspelling
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:01 AM
 
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Here's the full article about the theater downtown.

Quote:
Two groups are vying for the opportunity to take over Greenville’s historic downtown theater, but they both want the city to foot the bill for repairs — at least up front.

The Magnolia Arts Center and “Superblock” developer, Raleigh-based CommunitySmith, each submitted proposals in response to the city’s Request For Information (RFI).


These proposals, brought before Greenville’s Redevelopment Commission at its regular meeting on Tuesday, are non-binding, and serve only to let the city gauge interest in the theater. The city has been hoping to pursue a public-private partnership for management of the theater for years.

“We’re looking at one very public project and one very private project,” Uptown Greenville Director Bianca Shoneman said.

Members of the commission were most concerned with the requests in both proposals for the city to fund the cost of renovation for the theater.

The ramifications of a private versus a more public operation of the theater also were a concern.

“It seems to me the difference between what’s going to come out is that Magnolia Arts would provide a community theater and CommunitySmith would be a money-making project,” former Greenville mayor Pat Dunn said. “One would assume that if you’re having to make a profit, the price of the tickets would go up.”

Co-chairman Jeremy King asked if there was the potential for community rentals of the theater under CommunitySmith’s proposal. Rees said that was possible, and that most aspects of the proposals are up for negotiation.

From these proposals, the city will begin determining the fate of the theater — whether to pursue a private sale, a public-private partnership, or other options. Interviewing respondents and beginning the actual bidding process for the theater are next on the agenda, according to Shoneman.

“I guess we have a choice between or no choice at all or delay it, I mean, there’s all kinds of things that can be done,” King said.

The theater has been vacant on Fifth Street for about 15 years and is undergoing a slow process toward extensive repair and renovation.

Greenville’s Redevelopment Commission bought White’s Theater — formerly known as both the State and Park theaters and now called Theater Uptown — in December 2008 for about $281,000 ($14,000 less than its appraised value, according to Economic Development Officer Carl Rees) with general obligation bond funds designated for downtown redevelopment. The theater was built in 1914 and closed in the late 1990s.

The city paid almost $6,000 to East Carolina University to conduct a study that garnered more than 1,400 responses. The survey showed that residents willingly would spend money closer to home that they typically spend on entertainment elsewhere in the state, if the theater was revitalized.

Magnolia Arts Center

The proposal from Magnolia Arts Center, a grassroots community theater group, said the group would operate the theater as a producing and presenting venue with the MAC providing programming, staffing and daily operations. The MAC also would continue to use its nonprofit status to receive donations for the theater.

But the MAC plan calls for the city to be financially responsible for the about half million dollars of repairs and upfitting necessary to operate the theater and be financially responsible for the structural and exterior maintenance of the building.

The city would maintain ownership of the theater at a low-cost, long-term rental agreement, according to the MAC plan. The MAC would be responsible for the interior and theatrical maintenance.

The MAC plans to work with MHA Works, a local Greenville architectural firm. The MAC included a proposed financial model and operational budget with projected expenses of about $125,900 per year and a revenue stream of about $500 per day of rental income. The MAC plans for 192 days per year of events in order to break even, with 40 of those days being MAC shows, leaving 152 days to rent out in order to break even.

Another source of income could be touring acts. The MAC estimates that would cost about $6,000 for the artist and all associated costs, bringing ticket costs to about $31 and a full capacity show to cover the costs, not including any revenue from concessions.

The MAC would seek a working relationship with East Carolina University to guarantee a certain number of bookings each year to further offset costs.

In 2012, the MAC generated ticket revenue of about $29,000 in a theater space with a capacity of about 90 people. With a theater space that can seat 192 people, the MAC’s proposal asserts that the potential exists to possibly double ticket revenue.

CommunitySmith

CommunitySmith is responsible for redeveloping a block of downtown Greenville that is the new ECU’s Office of the Registrar and Pitt-Greenville Visitors Authority, among other future tenants. It has been interested in the downtown theater since 2012.

Using the same team working on the redeveloped block, CommunitySmith plans to remodel the building and rent it to an established private operator, Raleigh-based Lincoln Theater. Members of the team come with experience in redeveloping theaters like the Paramount Theater in Goldsboro, the Lincoln Theater in Raleigh and the Sunset Theater in Asheboro.

But while CommunitySmith wants its team to handle redevelopment, it wants the city to transfer the theater for $1, front the repair and construction costs through a low-interest loan of more than half a million dollars and waive about $15,000 in fees and permit costs. State and federal tax credits would be leveraged to help pay for the upfit of the theater and contractors’ fees would be paid for with tax credits transferred from the city to the redevelopment team.

CommunitySmith’s plan calls for about 411 seats in the theater, more than twice the number in the MAC plan. The number of performances would be determined by the private operator.

Both the MAC and CommunitySmith plan to pursue a beer and wine permit for the purpose of adding additional revenue. Both also proposed the sale of concessions.
Honestly, I hope that CommunitySmith gets this theater. The only thing I don't like is that the city may have to foot the bill upfront. With the CS plan, the 400+ seating arrangement can mean bigger shows. This venue could be very good to the downtown live music scene. Raleigh's Lincoln Theatre is a very very popular venue for live music. This theatre could do the same but with live music, comedians, film festivals and plays. They could even rent it out to businesses that may want to have a conference.

Maybe a happy medium is that CS can take over and the MAC can help pay some redevelopment costs to CS in exchange for having their plays at the theater.

Last edited by michealbond; 06-05-2014 at 07:44 AM..
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Old 06-05-2014, 09:48 AM
 
Location: Greenville, NC
839 posts, read 1,040,031 times
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As soon as I read Lincoln Theatre, I'm in for the CS plan. Granted, I don't know how I feel about all the costs the city would incure, but it would certinaly be a welcome sight to have a place uptown for real live music acts. The music scene has been way down since the Attic left & the Attic was pretty much a dump.
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Old 06-05-2014, 10:32 AM
 
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The private deal was what I was thinking as well. With ECU's theater presence and plans, there is no need IMO to develop this theater for traveling live shows (like Thalian Hall)...and there are so many places you can put a small community theater...Wilmington used an old USO building. The point of the City buying this theater was to HELP downtown. Bringing in national acts that may even generate overnight stays is the absolute way to do that.

Plus...if I read this right...in the first scenario, the City would own it, therefore not contributing toward the tax base. In the 2nd case, it would be privately owned and pay taxes. In other words, the City would be getting back some of that money in the long run it spent to buy it.

Getting national type acts would also help with the redevelopment of Evans St, which is still struggling.
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Old 06-06-2014, 03:13 AM
 
Location: Greenville, NC
2,078 posts, read 5,044,801 times
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The construction work to transform the old Home Depot building into the Burlington Coat Factory has gone out to bid. We should start seeing contractors there doing the work soon.
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Old 06-06-2014, 09:33 AM
 
1,022 posts, read 1,004,818 times
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From the Reflector, more businesses are coming to the "Superblock" on 5th Street.

Quote:
A block in downtown Greenville is getting a fresh look and attracting high-profile tenants thanks to a private developer and East Carolina University.

Uptown Greenville Director Bianca Shoneman coined the name for the collection of properties at the corner of East Fifth and Cotanche streets, and now the “Superblock” project is beginning to fill up.


East Carolina University’s Office of the Registrar was the Superblock’s first official tenant, with ECU committed to leasing all 8,000 square feet of the two-story 207 E. Fifth St. building.

Holton Wilkerson, managing partner for Raleigh-based CommunitySmith, the firm heading up the project, said it was ECU’s commitment to moving the registrar and possibly some other administrative offices that serves as an anchor for the project.

And now the Superblock has another high-profile tenant — the Greenville-Pitt Convention and Visitors Bureau — which likely will move in this fall.

Wilkerson said having bureau in the Superblock furthers the vision of the area as “a welcome mat for the heart of the community.”

The Superblock consists of about 20,000 square feet encompassing 201-205 E. Fifth Street, 207 E. Fifth St. and 417 Cotanche St.

Need to expand

Housed at the convention center at 303 S.W. Greenville Blvd., a need to expand is one of the major reasons for the visitors bureau’s move, according to Interim Director Andrew Schmidt.

The bureau, which dates back to 1988, originally was located downtown, Schmidt said, first in the former Taft Office supply building, then at 525 S. Evans St. It moved in 2001 once the convention center was completed.

Since the convention center is expanding, additional office space is needed for bureau staff, Schmidt said. The more than 3,000 square feet of the first floor at 417 Cotanche St. will be a definitive upgrade for the agency, Schmidt said, and could allow for improved services.

Almost all convention and visitors bureaus or visitor centers are located in city urban cores, Schmidt said. At times, the location at the convention center prevents people from visiting, he said.

“(An) urban core location will increase walk-in traffic, which results in more one-on-one marketing opportunities for staff,” Schmidt said.

Centrally located between ECU and Vidant Medical Center, between industrial park corporations and the convention center district, the bureau likely will see increased traffic with the completion of the 10th Street Connector, he said.

Center-city development and plans to create a more walkable community also should bring in traffic, Schmidt said.

The Cotanche Street location was chosen because it is part of a growing district that is hospitality oriented, Schmidt said. It will be across from the new city parking deck, which will be convenient for visitors.

Other additions

Virginia-based Campus Cookies signed a lease with CommunitySmith to locate at 205 E. Fifth St. in the fall.

A local insurance company has signed a letter of intent to locate on the second floor of 417 Cotanche St., above the convention and visitors bureau. A lease has not been signed and the company did not wish to be identified yet, Wilkerson said Thursday.
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