Council approves Landmark Theater deal | News
RICHMOND, VA (WWBT)- Tuesday night, city leaders voted to give millions to restore the Landmark Theater. City Council approved ordinances authorizing $50 million in renovations to the aging facility.
The council vote was unanimous but not everyone was on board with the deal. Richmonders had a chance to tell city leaders what they see for the Landmark's future and given the tight economic times, some questioned if the money could be better spent.
The bright lights of Broadway have been shining on Richmond and their venue of choice is the Landmark Theater. The almost ninety year old stage is showing its age with cracked plaster, an antiquated sound system and seating that leaves something to be desired.
"Winding through the hallway to get to the nosebleed seats, my nose almost bled from claustrophobia," exclaimed City Councilman Marty Jewell.
The two ordinances passed Tuesday night authorize a $50 million project to tackle that. Only $14 million of it comes from the city check book.
$10 million will be offered in naming opportunities, $8 million will be raised by CenterStage and $18 million will be leveraged in tax credits.
Some asked if this is the best use of city dollars, given the tough budget negotiations just completed.
"I was wondering how there's a surplus when the schools had a shortfall," questioned Richmonder Chris Dorsey.
Council maintained the project could ultimately pay for itself and then some. Already, the blockbusters are coming and bringing the bucks to city coffers. We've learned The Lion King and Wicked raised almost $1 million in admission taxes and half a million in meals taxes.
"You don't kill the goose that lays the golden egg," Jewell explained. "You pet her, rub her, shine her up."
Some council members said this is a good example of how business should be done in the future. The city basically gets $3 for every $1 it is spending on the project.
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