Two firms proposed to study new performing arts center downtown


Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren wants to hire two firms to study the feasibility of a new downtown performing arts center. The companies are Lincoln Center Global and Westlake Reed Leskosky. 

Mayor Lovely Warren - FILE PHOTO
  • Mayor Lovely Warren
Lincoln Center Global is, according to Crain's New York Business, the consulting arm of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City. Westlake is an architectural firm out of Cleveland. 

Legislation drafted by Warren proposes awarding one-year contracts to both companies for a site and feasibility study for a new downtown performing arts center. If approved by City Council — Council will consider the legislation this month — LCG would be paid a maximum of $50,000, while Westlake would be paid a maximum of $161,165. 

The state awarded the City of Rochester $100,000 for an arts center feasibility study late last year. The rest of the funding for the study would come from the city, Warren's legislation says. 

The study will look at two possible locations for a new performing arts center: the former Renaissance Square site and the old Midtown site, both on East Main Street. According to the legislation, the study will determine which site is best, what the project should entail, costs, and annual revenue and operating costs of a new PAC. It will also look at the economic impact the facility would have. 

The legislation also says that the city will form a steering committee to guide the process. It would include representatives from the Rochester Broadway Theatre League, Geva, VisitRochester, the Convention Center, Rochester Downtown Development, Rochester Business Alliance, Monroe County, and others. 

The length of the study would be approximately three months, the legislation says. 

Warren has consistently advocated for an arts center downtown, and Rochester Broadway Theatre League would be the likely candidate to program it. RBTL owns and operates the Auditorium Theatre on East Main Street, but that facility is no longer suitable, say RBTL officials. The subpar performance space keeps Rochester from getting top-tier shows, they say.

RBTL had looked at the Medley Centre project in Irondequoit as a potential location for a new theater. But that project is mired in financial, political, and legal muck; it seems unlikely that it will ever get off the ground.