Schaumburg again considering performing arts center

  • Schaumburg trustees are considering the results of a new feasibility study suggesting the time might be right to construct the performing arts center that was intended to open on the west side of the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center a decade ago.

    Schaumburg trustees are considering the results of a new feasibility study suggesting the time might be right to construct the performing arts center that was intended to open on the west side of the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center a decade ago. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 11/22/2016 10:35 AM

A consultant's feasibility study suggests the time might be right for the village of Schaumburg to build a 2,800-seat performing arts center on the west side of the decade-old Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center.

Such a center would be similar in intent, but adapted to a changed economy, to one held back from the construction of the hotel and convention center along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway due to financial concerns at the time.

 

The project recommended by the Minneapolis-based consulting firm HGA would cost approximately $105 million and host about 140 events annually while generating more than $1.2 million in tax revenue each year, according to the study. HGA projects the center to be profitable from an operations standpoint within its first year, excluding construction debt.

Schaumburg village board members will discuss the results of the $150,000 feasibility study at a committee meeting at 7 p.m. today, when they're expected to decide whether to commission a second phase encompassing the design of such a building.

That phase, if pursued, likely would be completed sometime during the first quarter of 2017. Only then would village board members begin deliberating whether they truly want to build a performing arts center, Village Manager Brian Townsend said.

The previous design for a 2,400-seat theater proposed in 2004 is not considered viable for the one now recommended.

If built at the same time as the convention center and hotel, it would have increased the project cost from its actual $215 million up to $282.3 million.

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Another feasibility study done in 2007 suggested the center could be built for $82 million but that an adjacent 550-space parking structure would cost $15.5 million more. Officials passed on that proposal as well.

There could be many nuances to discuss before moving forward, Townsend added, including whether the village board would like to secure corporate support, naming rights or even dual ownership with another party.

That's why, even under the swiftest scenario, a groundbreaking is unlikely before 2018, Townsend said.

"It's premature to talk about construction," he said.

The feasibility study envisions the users of a performing arts center to be a combination of touring Broadway productions, other commercial entertainment, events related to the neighboring convention center and nonprofit rentals.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The recommended 152,000-square-foot auditorium is projected to host up to 118 events with a total attendance of 231,980 in its first year. With growth expected each year, about 138 events and a total attendance of approximately 275,885 are expected in year five.

Because of initial concerns among village officials about a price tag in the $100 million range, the study also presents a Plan B to address what could be done for less.

That option would be for a 2,000-seat facility that would cost $80 million to build but would incur an expected net cost of $400,000 per year to the village even without construction costs. It is not being recommended by HGA, Townsend said.

Though Schaumburg already has the Prairie Center for the Arts next to village hall, it's a very different venue aimed at smaller shows. Its largest auditorium, the Maggie Atcher Theatre, holds only 450 seats.

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