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.
Almost $125,000 in funding by the Redevelopment Agency has been spent for opening the Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts, according to an annual status update provided to the agency.
|The rehearsal hall can seat up to 60.|
Work continues on the Hamilton Stage for Performing Arts in anticipation of a grand opening this fall, with an open house preview expected in May as other preview events around the Arts District continue this spring.
The Arts District and the Redevelopment Agency entered into a shared services agreement in January, with the agency agreeing to provide $300,000 in increments of $100,000 per year, based on the availability of funding.
The Arts District has “used and intends to continue to use the funding for costs associated with support, encouragement and promotion of the arts in Rahway and associated economic development,” including the start-up operation and management of the Hamilton Stage, a 200-seat black box studio being constructed on Hamilton Street (Tax Block 167, Lots 38, 39, 42, 44 and 45), according to the resolution adopted by the Redevelopment Agency at its Sept. 7 meeting.
As of last month, about $30,000 remains from the first $100,000 payment, according to Arts District Executive Director James Kennedy. Funding has been used primarily for the development of the three-year launch plan and projected budgets for the Hamilton Stage, he said, adding that they’re now moving into grant development, fundraising strategy, lease agreements, booking and implementation.
This month, a contract was entered into with Front of House Services, a Madison-based consultant that will see the project through the opening (expected next spring) and operating the first two years, Kennedy said.
A friend passed along this story from The Atlantic, “Descendants of the High Line,” spotlighting four efforts around the country inspired by New York City’s wildly popular High Line, including the closest to home, Jersey City’s The Embankment.
The future Hamilton Stage for the Performing Arts (a.k.a., the former Bell Building) has been taking shape, with the steel structure extending further toward the sidewalk in recent weeks. The 220-seat black box theater and performing arts space is scheduled to open next summer (here’s a floor plan).
For a peek at what it looked like when work first started this spring, check out this previous post.
The deadline for requests for proposals (RFPs) to become an artistic affiliate of the Hamilton Stage has been pushed back eight weeks, to Oct. 12.
The Rahway Arts District is sponsoring an “I ‘Art Rahway” giveaway. Tell them why you ‘Art Rahway (follow the link), and you’ll be entered to win a T-shirt signed by musician Nicole Adkins, who performed here this summer. Winners will be announced at the Oct. 6 First Thursday.
It’s long overdue for some details about the city’s bond sale this past spring that I promised last month when I posted the city’s top 10 property taxpayers.
The city borrowed almost $12 million in general improvement bonds, including almost $8 million for redevelopment- and arts-related items.
Ten of the 22 items in the $11.765 million bond sale were related to redevelopment, totaling $7.78 million for redevelopment, more than half of it related to the Hamilton Street arts projects. About $783,750 was authorized in 2007, which covered architectural concept plans, planning and engineering, surveying, DEP permitting, floor plans and elevations, and demolition of the Hamilton Laundry building. Another $4.5 million was authorized last year, but only $3 million borrowed so far, for the Arts District’s amphitheater, which would cover the renovation of the Bell Building (now referred to as the Hamilton Stage), construction of the amphitheater, acquisition of arts related equipment and eventual acquisition of the Elizabethtown Gas building (Block 167, Lot 1).
A breakdown of the 10 items, some dating back to 2000, can be found in this Excel file, including the amounts authorized and bonds issued, along with a brief description. At the April bond sale, the city secured a rate just below 4.51 percent over 20 years from J.P. Morgan (UBS Financial was the other bidder, coming in at under 4.59 percent). The bonds mature annually on April, beginning in 2012 at $350,000, increasing to $450,000 in 2015, $550,000 in 2016, $560,000 in 2017 and $640,000 in 2018, before leveling out at $700,000 annually through 2030. The complete maturity schedule can be found in this Excel file.
In tomorrow’s post, we’ll take a look at what Standard & Poor’s had to say in its report on the city.
NJ Monthly magazine’s Table Hopping with Rosie paid a visit to Patria Restaurant and Mixology Lounge. She called it “a place in NJ that should be on your must-try list.” Overall, she had quite a few good things to say, calling the garlic shrimp better than anything found in Newark, and advising not to miss some entrees (including Patria pork, and I must agree) as well as dessert.
The Redevelopment Agency rejected two bids for construction of interim parking at the site of the proposed Hamilton Street amphitheater. A new bid could be awarded by next month.
The two bidders — Berto Construction and Gingerelli Bros. — were about $500,000 apart, one reason why they were rejected, according to City Engineer James Housten, though seven contractors purchased bid packets. (Gingerelli Bros. earlier this year was awarded the $5.825-million bid for the Hamilton Stage project at the Bell Building.)
When the Redevelopment Agency decided several months ago to put the amphitheater on hold and instead build an interim parking lot at the Hamilton Street site, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) determined that a different permit would be required, Housten said. Meetings with state officials, however, have led to a more favorable recommendation, he said, with the process and cost to a less than if the agency had followed the DEP’s original edict and see another permit.
Part of the bid included removing remediated soil, which Housten said will be tested and determined exactly what it contains and how much there is. That process might provide for less expensive bids when the project goes out to bid next week. He hopes to have a resolution to award a new contract at the agency’s August meeting.
Early this year, the Redevelopment Agency decided to delay building the amphitheater and instead construct an interim parking lot to accommodate the Hamilton Stage. Commissioners also held off on acquiring three remaining homes on Hamilton Street that were slated to eventually become parking areas.