The Columbus Symphony Orchestra unveiled a plan this week to build a music and performance hall on the downtown Scioto River. Here’s what we know so far about the proposal:
Where would it be?
The hall would be built on a vacant triangle of land on the west side of the Scioto River, immediately south of COSI, bounded by West Town Street, South Belle Street and Washington Boulevard. The 6.7-acre site — roughly half of which is buildable — is owned by the city of Columbus.
How much would it cost and who would pay for it?
The symphony estimates the cost at $275 million. The cost will be covered by private donations, and state and federal funding. The symphony said it has received commitments for about $37 million, including $10 million in state funding.
What niche would it fill?
The music hall would seat about 1,600 guests, which symphony officials say fills a need. The symphony’s current home, the Ohio Theatre, seats 2,791. Capacities in other theaters show a gap that the proposed new hall would fill: the 2,696-seat Palace Theatre; Mershon Auditorium has nearly 2500 seats; Southern Theater 919 seats; Davidson Theater 803 seats; and the 582-seat Lincoln Theatre. The proposed music hall would also include nine additional performance and event spaces, for a total of 205,000 square feet.
What does riverfront development mean?
The hall would occupy the last vacant site on the downtown riverfront, which has been redeveloped including the opening of Scioto Mile Park in 2011. The hall would anchor the southern end of the redevelopment on the west side of the river. Other developments there include the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, which opened in 2018; the 26-hectare Peninsula development, which includes apartments, offices, hotels and entertainment spaces, now in its second phase; and the mixed-use Gravity development on West Broad Street, also in phase two.
How much will it cost taxpayers?
The Columbus Downtown Development Corp., which is working with the symphony on behalf of the city, says no city money will be spent on the music hall beyond the land donation, which the Franklin County Auditor estimates at $1.2 million. State tax dollars, however, have been committed to the project, and future funding may include additional public funds. The agreement between the city and the symphony states that the symphony is responsible for all operating costs including taxes.
When can it happen?
The symphony is under a deadline that began last summer, when it signed a memorandum of understanding with the city. The deal gave the symphony six months to come up with a plan for the building and a year and a half to secure financing. Under the terms of the agreement, fundraising status must be reassessed every six months. The deal calls for the symphony to break ground by September 2025 and finish construction within three years.
How long is this planned?
While the symphony signed the deal with the city last June, it has been chasing a new home since at least 2021, when it considered building a new music hall on South High Street that would have included the former National Bank of England building. Ohio. Although the symphony requested $2 million in state funding for the plan, the symphony abandoned it.
What does it mean for other countries?
If the symphony moves to a new music hall, the Ohio Theater would lose one of its anchor tenants. The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts, which manages the theater, has not commented on what the symphony’s departure would mean for the historic Downtown theater, or whether other tenants, such as Broadway Across America, might be tempted to move to a new venue. cloud. .