- Associated Press - Sunday, October 22, 2017

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) - A performing arts group wants to buy and refurbish a historic building in downtown Sioux City, with plans for a 200-plus seat theater, cabaret-style bar and classrooms.

The Sioux City Journal reports that the Sioux City Council will decide on Monday whether to approve the Lamb Arts Regional Theatre’s project.

The theater is seeking approval for a development agreement that would award it a $350,000 loan, which would be used to purchase the property from a private owner.

The nonprofit plans to launch a fundraising campaign to repay the loan and raise funds for the restoration. The loan must be repaid over a one-year period or the property would revert to the city.

The redesign would also create a two-story atrium that could be used for community rentals, meetings and gatherings before theater events.

City documents say the theater group has leased the former Webster School building for more than 30 years, but has outgrown the space. Group leaders hope the move downtown will allow for the group to increase its public presence.

The downtown building was originally used as the city’s first auditorium in 1909. It then became the Tomba Ballroom in 1947. KCAU-TV used the building as a television station from 1956 to 2017. It’s been vacant since February, when the TV station relocated.

A preliminary engineering assessment of the building found no significant structural problems that would hinder renovations.

City officials believe the project could improve the downtown area, according to documents.

An estimate on the cost of the restoration wasn’t available.

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