MARKET CREATION PROJECT: WESTOBOU ARTS CENTER – INCLUDES THEATERS ALONG BROAD STREET AND RIVERFRONT PROJECTS

About This Project

The Big Idea: This progressive proposal calls for not only redeveloping vacant riverfront land into an arts and entertainment center that will include a performing arts center, a new Morris Museum, boat basin/amphitheater, sculpture/fountain plaza and paths but also to restore the Imperial, Miller and potentially the Modjeska Theaters.

Cost:
 Over $100 million private funding, $30 million public infrastructure funding (in 2009 dollars).

Time:
10 to 15 years

Details:
 Augusta is well known as a regional center for the performing arts, from classical to contemporary performances. It is also home to the Morris Museum, which houses the finest collection of Southern Art anywhere. The setting on the Savannah River, surrounded by history and adjacent to the Augusta Convention Center, the Augusta Common and Broad Street offers a unique opportunity to provide state-of-the-art regional and national destinations in the heart of downtown Augusta. Recommended to develop an arts and entertainment center to include a 2,000-seat symphony hall, a 40,000 square foot new Morris Museum of Art, creation of a new riverfront boat basin/amphitheater, develop an art/fountain plaza on Reynolds Street opposite the Augusta Common as well as restore the theaters along Broad Street.

Progress: The Miller Theater reconstruction got underway in the fall of 2016. This $22 million project includes not only the Miller Theater it self at 708 Broad Street but also the adjoining building at 710 Broad Street formerly known as Cullum’s department store. The 710 Broad Street building will house a music institute on the second floor and the theater’s restrooms and performer dressing rooms at ground level. Altogether, the project totals 60,000 square feet. Renovations will be complete in time for a January 2018 grand opening.

The Imperial Theater is undergoing a major electrical overhaul, upgrades to the heating and air conditioning systems and beautifying the interior of the building. Other projects are also on the horizon such as the addition of another stairwell to the exterior and restoration of the theater’s pipe organ. As the Imperial Theater heads into its centennial year in 2018, plans are underway to mark this very special year with quarterly events.

Performing Arts Center – The Augusta Tomorrow board has had many discussions with performing arts center architects, developers and programmers as a first step in understanding the intricacies of moving forward with this development. The Board has made multiple trips to other southeastern cities that operate successful performing arts centers to discuss their performing arts center development and ongoing programming. Discussions about the need for a state-of-the-art performing arts center was at the heart of many community meetings prior to the development of this Urban Area Master Plan. Residents voiced over and over again that Augusta needed a world-class performing arts center while maintaining the current arts district and unique venues. Development of a performing arts center will require city and state resources in addition to private funding.

Category
CENTRAL DOWNTOWN CORE