Carmel Performing Arts Center Upgrades on Hold
Posted in the Carmel Forum
#1 Apr 13, 2008
CARMEL, Ind.-- Redevelopment leaders unsure if they can afford extras to upgrade the city's concert hall say they will hold off approval of some construction contracts this week until the mayor updates them on how much private money has been raised for the project.
They were set to decide Wednesday on some of the enhancements for the Carmel Performing Arts Center, a building intended to last for centuries after it's complete in 2010.
Redevelopment leaders first want to know whether they can afford any upgrades with the $80 million in public money borrowed for the project, plus money Mayor Jim Brainard has raised from private donors -- a figure that some say will be critical in making their decisions.
Brainard's goal is to raise about $50 million in private money for upgrades, along with a $10 million endowment and about $1.3 million in pre-opening operating costs.
Almost three years into the fundraising campaign, Brainard has announced he's raised a little more than $2 million toward the goal from a business, an anonymous donor and an in-kind contribution from developer Pedcor. He has refused to give an update since last September.
Executives from at least two companies -- Conseco insurance companies in Carmel and Northside homebuilder Gene B. Glick Co.-- say the mayor has approached them for funding. Glick has not yet committed funds, and it was not immediately known whether Conseco executives had donated.
Willem Brans, a consultant the city hired for the fund-raising effort, also has kept any progress quiet. That's a common strategy, he said, in this phase of the campaign, when fundraisers are seeking donors willing to give eight-figure gifts.
"These kinds of discussions take a long time -- they require extensive conversations and presentations with the donors," Brans said. "That's something that's very difficult to accomplish in the public eye."
But some members of the Carmel Redevelopment Commission, which will vote on the upgrades, say without knowing money is available, it's harder to move forward with important choices for the hall.
"I need to know I can pay for what I contract for," said Rick Sharp, the City Council president and one of five members of the commission. "Knowing what I know today, it would be very difficult for me to commit to additional expenditures on what I call 'if-come funding.' "
Bill Hammer, another commissioner, agrees. He said fundraising is among factors to consider in making choices about upgrades.
"The key thing is making sure we stick to the budget," Hammer said.
To be continued in next post
#2 Apr 13, 2008
As project managers buy leaders time on the decisions, they will try to determine in the next couple of days whether the choices can be put off a month or two without delaying the project or increasing its price tag, a possibility in light of rising materials expenses.
"You have to sit back and consider,'If we put this off, could we get ourselves in a position of escalated costs?' " construction manager Mike Anderson of Shiel Sexton, said.
Making a hasty decision also could cost dearly.
The first choices on upgrades will impact the building's long-term value, designers say, and most of these improvements can't be made later.
Another $3 million would buy more durable materials, such as limestone instead of stucco for the building's fašade, and clay instead of slate tile for the roof.
That funding also would add a skylight-enclosed opening in the ceiling, a feature that would make the building unique.
"You don't want to jeopardize with materials," said Dan Moriarity, the project's principal with Carmel-based CSO Architects. "We want to delay this (decision) until the last possible minute so all opportunities can present themselves. We know to do the quality of hall the stakeholders want it's going to take some private funds to be donated to enhance the experience for a 500-year building."
Many concert halls of this caliber across the country have cost more than $100 million, said Eliot Pfanstiehl, who runs the Music Center at Strathmore, a $108.6-million facility built mostly with public money in Montgomery County, Md.
Investors in his hall added $3 million to the project to finance a limestone exterior instead of concrete, a cost footed evenly by state, county and private dollars.
"Ten years from now when you open, you will only regret not doing something like that. You'll never regret doing it," Pfanstiehl said. "If we put up something less than wonderful, who will forgive us?"
But some in the city question why the hall, already backed by a chunk of public money, needs to be fancier.
"Whether we have $2,000 fixtures in the bathroom and what the outside of the building consists of isn't going to make the performance any better on the inside," said John Accetturo, a city councilman. "In this period of (economic) slowdown, we don't need that opulence. We need a nice performing arts center with proper acoustics."
The amenities wouldn't make much difference to residents like Elaine Bittinger, 66. She typically attends a few concerts a year at Indianapolis theaters, from downtown's Hilbert Circle Theatre to the much smaller Artists' Studio in Fishers.
"I wouldn't have to have all the extras to really enjoy the performance," said Bittinger, a 38-year Carmel resident. "I'd be interested in the performance, not all the trimmings."
But some who live in Carmel see it differently.
Nick Longworth, 77, who moved to the city three years ago from suburban Washington, D.C., said he has visited concert halls across the country. He views the choices made today as affecting the Carmel building's legacy.
He said the additions will merit the investment.
"Over the long haul, when I think how long that building is going to stand, it should be done well so that people have pride in it," Longworth said. "I hope we as a community have the vision to see ahead for our children and grandchildren."
#7 Apr 13, 2008
Do you think you could possibly give somebody eelse the opportunity to post something here. You're out of control. Address the subject, and stop ranting.
#8 Apr 13, 2008
It looks like the money isn't there. Hmmm I wonder if this mean he will try to get our Utilities to pay for it.
#13 Apr 14, 2008
How are you defending me? I copy and pasted an article from the Sunday IndyStar, and didn't comment on it at all. You on the other hand continue your incessant ranting on everything but the subject matter. Pedcore is in business to make money. The only difference between Pedcore and the other big Developers is that they are the only ones stupid enough to buy into Brainards Folly. I especially like your get out of your way comment. You destroy these boards with your little boy who cried wolf rants. You never have any facts for the subject matter. Then you have the gall to tell somebody to get out of your way. First thing you need to do is register and get a permanent moniker and stick to it. Then work on some credability. I'm not telling you to stop, I'm just saying to tune it down.
#18 Apr 14, 2008
His mommy doesn't like him.
His daddy doesn't like him.
His first grade classmates don't like him.
The neighborhood children do not like him.
Nobody likes Carmel Patriot.
Nobody pays a bit of attention to the C R A P that he writes on these message boards.
He has no credibility.
People laugh at his rants.
Carmel Patriot, Brian Wallace, The Real Noblesville Dad - you are a PATHETIC LOSER.
#20 Apr 14, 2008
Brainard doesn't need Cordingley's money. Liz Brainard is wealthy and can afford anything she wants. Leave Brainards wife and kids out of all of this. It is Brainard who needs Cordingley,to complete his legacy. If Cordingley and Pedcore are stupid enough to invest their money into City Center than let them. My problem is just how much of our tax dollars are assisting them. They already have announced that they will not be starting any new projects at City Center. Looks like Jimbo's TIF Cash Cow just fell over dead. Maybe he can bury this Cash Cow in the same grave as Buckingham's.
#21 Apr 14, 2008
You may want to read the headline about the new 20 acre commerical/hotel developement by Browing, breaking ground this summer in Carmel. Evidently many still think Carmel is a good bet. http://propertylines.ibj.com/
#22 Apr 15, 2008
Office complex that has been in the works for a while now. Not high dollar condos in a City Center. Why don't you tell us about the Lurie Building condo sales. Why has construction stopped on the condos behind Bubs? Why did Buckingham close it's construction office? Why isn't Buckingham building Gramercy? Why has PedCore Backed off of any new construction at City Center. What happened to your name of "Main Street"?
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