- Associated Press - Thursday, January 7, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Juneau officials are considering a new, slimmer design plan for the city’s proposed art complex after the Perseverance Theatre withdrew from the project in November.

Nancy DeCherney, executive director of the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, presented an outline of the Willoughby Arts Complex to the City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Monday, The Juneau Empire reported (https://bit.ly/1RtUuAI). The project includes an $18.8 million expansion of the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.

The Perseverance Theatre had originally signed on to be a part of the project but backed out for financial reasons.

“It is not the right time for us to take on such a large new initiative to fundraise and build the building, or make such a long-term financial commitment to operating it,” Perseverance said in a statement.

DeCherney revealed the results of a financial feasibility study of the project to the Assembly. The study conducted by the McDowell Group shows that the new design plan includes a 24,000-square-foot expansion of the Juneau Arts and Culture Center and a new 300-seat community theater. There is also “an array of spaces that support the theater, enhance the experience for clientele, and augment revenue generation potential,” according to the study.

“We’re adding on the new portion and revamping the old portion,” DeCherney said.

Previous plans for the complex had included a second theater to accommodate Perseverance. The larger design was also a downsized version of initial plans for an $80 million arts and convention complex that would have included Centennial Hall.

DeCherney said the council will launch a competition to get architects from Juneau, Fairbanks and Anchorage to design the new facility.

Juneau voters in 2012 approved the use of $1 million in sales taxes to support the arts complex project. So far, $82,000 of the $250,000 appropriation has been spent on the effort.

DeCherney said construction costs will be sought through private donors.

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Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com


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