The city has come up with a handful of options for the historic Civic Auditorium, which is slated to close indefinitely in June 2013.
They include partial or complete renovation, "adaptive re-use," and demolition. Rehab could cost between $5 and $58 million while the estimated price tag for "adaptive reuse"—turning it into a convention center, sports facility or art center and musuem—is even higher at $80 million. Demolition would cost $1.25 million, but City Council members indicated this week they're not fans of that proposal.
"I can’t see demolishing it," said Mayor Richard Bloom at a study session Tuesday night.
"I'm not in favor of any option that says close it or tear it down for indeterminate amount of time," said councilwoman Gleam Davis.
Councilman Kevin McKeown said he would say "no to closing, no to mothballing."
A planned facelift and seismic retrofits funded by the former redevelopment agency were supposed to temporarily shutter The Civic starting June 2013 before a grand reopening two years later, but $51.9 million in funds to cover the renovations are now at risk with the loss of redevelopment funds.
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And, with city officials working to avoid a budget deficit, there's not enough money to keep the doors open either. It's operated with an annual deficit estimated of up to $2 million annually in the past 10 years, and is in need of some major seismic retrofits.
Cultural Affairs Manager Jessica Cusik said the city is likely going to have to cobble together multiple funding sources to reopen The Civic.
"Unless my white knight is out there with $150 million," she said.
Even keeping the landmark boarded up in the interim will cost the city about $185,000 a year for "very basic maintenance" services, Cusick said.