Schaumburg looks for ways to lower cost of a performing arts center

  • Schaumburg trustees Tuesday voted to keep researching the feasibility of building a regional performing arts center on a vacant site west of the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway.

    Schaumburg trustees Tuesday voted to keep researching the feasibility of building a regional performing arts center on a vacant site west of the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center along the Jane Addams Memorial Tollway. Eric Peterson | Staff Photographer

 

By Eric Peterson

Posted11/23/2016 5:30 AM

Schaumburg trustees Tuesday voted 5-1 to direct the village manager to research whether a 2,800-seat performing arts center could be built next to the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center for significantly less than the $105 million cited by a consultant.

This second phase of a feasibility study for the center may or may not involve further services from Minneapolis-based consulting firm HGA but likely will be completed during the winter ahead, Village Manager Brian Townsend said.

 

While all but a couple of trustees were enthusiastic about the business potential of a 2,800-seat center as described by HGA's representatives, every single one balked at the price tag assigned to it.

Trustee Marge Connelly, who voted against a second phase of study, said she couldn't support taking another step forward on the project without knowing where the money for construction would come from.

Trustee Tom Dailly said he shared her concern about the cost but felt the next logical step was determining what such a facility might really cost.

Dailly asked Townsend to find consultants who might be able to challenge HGA's estimate of $550 per square foot, if even by $50 to $100 per square foot.

Trustee George Dunham said he'd rather spend money on engineering a truly multipurpose facility at the expense of overly elaborate aesthetics.

Trustee Frank Kozak said he was willing to see the center reduced to 2,000 seats to be closer to an $80 million cost, but others were not interested in such a smaller capacity.

Consultant Duncan Webb of New York-based Webb Management Services Inc. said the key to make a regional performing arts center work is to partner with an influential operator who would not be bullied out of the market for popular shows by the operators of Chicago's downtown theaters. Such a partnership should be established before groundbreaking, but a theater smaller than 2,800 seats would lose the interest of such potential operators, Webb said.

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