The Redevelopment Agency amended an agreement to lease the Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts to the Union County Performing Arts Center (UCPAC) from 10 years to 30 years while authorizing the final $100,000 payment to the Rahway Arts District.
The agency passed a resolution at its meeting on May 2 amending an earlier agreement in September that called for a 10-year lease. Construction of the 199-seat proscenium theater and flexible 50-seat public space is nearing completion, with open house previews scheduled this weekend at the $6-million facility.
The lease was always supposed to be 30 years as serious grantors want to ensure stability before committing to funding, according to former Mayor James Kennedy. The intention is to become sustainable through revenues such as concessions, parking, rentals and foundation commitments, he said
The resolution for the lease agreement makes clear that the agency has “no intention of operating the improvements constructed on the property, other than the use of parking to support other downtown activities when no performances are being held at the property.” Parking at the site of the former Hamilton Laundry provides about 170 spaces and initially was planned as an amphitheater until officials opted last year to build a parking lot in the interim.
The Redevelopment Agency also agreed to provide $300,000 to the Arts District, based on availability of funding and a shared services agreement. The agency already has provided $200,000 and pursuant to a request by the Arts District, the agency will provide the third and last allocation of $100,000 for use in accordance with the shared services agreement.
The $300,000 is to get Hamilton Stage open, through the first season and into 2013, Kennedy said, adding that the aim is to bridge an anticipated annual gap of $150,000 to $200,000 between revenue sources like parking with foundation commitments, which he stressed is far less than some other arts facilities.