TheatreSquared asks Fayetteville A&P Commission to match city’s funding for new facility

TheatreSquared Artistic Director Bob Ford (left) and T2 Executive Director Martin Miller present a funding proposal to members of the Fayetteville Advertising and Promotion Commission Monday afternoon inside the Fayetteville Town Center.

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

TheatreSquared could soon add the Advertising and Promotion Commission to the list of financial supporters for its new facility in downtown Fayetteville.

T2 officials on Monday asked Fayetteville A&P commissioners to match the city’s recent $3.1 million commitment to the local non-profit’s planned facility at the southeast corner of West Avenue and Spring Street. The new building will sit across the street from Nadine Baum Studios where T2 currently rents space, and one block south of the Walton Arts Center’s campus on Dickson Street.

The $34 million facility will include two performance stages, rehearsal areas, space for costume and prop construction, dressing rooms, a green room, and administrative offices. Plans also include public common areas with educational and gathering spaces for audience members, guest artists, or anyone who just wants to hang out and grab a coffee, a small plate of food, or a cocktail.

The organization in January received a $9 million commitment for the project from the Walton Family Foundation, but the award is a 1-to-2 challenge grant that requires TheatreSquared to raise $18 million on its own. It was the second award from the foundation, which gave TheatreSquared $3.5 million for design of the new facility.

City Council members earlier this month agreed to put $3.1 million toward the project to help fulfill a goal of the city’s recently adopted Fayetteville First economic development plan, which recommends further enhancement of Fayetteville’s arts and cultural environment.

The city collects a 2 percent tax on hotel and motel stays and prepared food sales at restaurants (HMR tax). Half of the money goes toward parks maintenance, operations and capital improvements, while the other 1 percent goes to the A&P Commission for advertising and promoting the city.

State legislation also allows HMR dollars to be used for funding the arts, operation of tourist-oriented facilities, and construction of public recreation facilities, among other things.

Martin Miller, TheatreSquared’s executive director, said the theatre project is a perfect fit for those tax dollars. Miller said 48 percent of the over 40,000 people who attended a T2 performance last year came from outside Fayetteville. Of those out-of-towners, he said 59 percent reported having purchased a meal or drink either before or after the show.

“With your partnership, we see the emergence of a true theatre district that defines Fayetteville as an arts destination for generations,” said Miller.

An artist’s rendering shows what the new TheatreSquared building could look like at the corner of Spring and West streets in downtown Fayetteville.

Renderings by Kilograph / Courtesy TheatreSquared

The commission last year exceeded its record for annual revenue collected with a total of $3.3 million. It was an 8 percent increase over 2015, and marked the fourth consecutive year for an uptick in HMR funds.

Miller said Arvest Bank recently approved a competitive $18.5 million construction loan for the project, which is scheduled to break ground later this year. Miller said he expects more funding announcements to be released in the coming months. If all goes according to plan, the new facility should be open in time for the 2019 season.

Alderman Matthew Petty, the commission’s chair and one of two City Council members who serve on the board, said he and A&P Executive Director Molly Rawn will look at ways the commission might fund the proposal, and present those findings at the group’s next monthly meeting on April 24.

More images

Lobby and commons area


View from the Spring Street Parking Deck