Agency amends lease, authorizes payment

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.

File photo

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.

5 thoughts on “Agency amends lease, authorizes payment”

  1. Mark,The Arts District is getting $100,000. Who decides how the money is spent? You are/were on the Arts committee in Rahway, so I assume you should know the answer. Who has signing authority for all of this money flowing into the Arts District? Who is signing the checks? Bill

  2. Hi Bill, Actually, the Arts District ultimately will be getting $300k; this is the final $100k payment. As it's been described to me, the funds are being used to get the Hamilton Stage off the ground in its nascent stages. I recall attending one of the quarterly meetings (they were at difficult times for me to attend, 4 p.m. on a Thursday). But I was more of a non-voting, honorary member of the committee, I wasn't approving anything or signing any checks. As for who's signing the checks on this $300k, I'm not sure who specifically but I'd guess it's the director of the Arts District (no longer James Kennedy) or someone at the arts center at this point (since they will lease the facility?). Or perhaps the consultant who's overseeing Hamilton Stage has been given authority. Those are just guesses on my part though.

  3. 30 years? Why wasn't that initially put forth this way? 10 years to get a crack at running a facility seems fine and plenty stable; 30 years sounds like an insider's sweetheart deal.

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