Saturday, June 11, 2016

Coming soon to Greensboro's Performing Arts Center

"Buried in a budget briefing given to the Dallas City Council on Wednesday was a line that didn’t raise a single eyebrow at the horseshoe: $1.5 million in additional taxpayer dollars going to the AT&T Performing Arts Center.

...There has been no explanation for the bump. So I asked for one.

Turns out, that $1.5 million is the first of 10 $1.5 million taxpayer-funded payments over the next decade that will go toward paying off the bonds used to build the center

...that debt was around $150 million in bonds guaranteed by JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. And it has been a crushing burden on the 7-year-old, $360 million center, which was built almost entirely with private funds and turned over to the city in phases beginning in 2009, when it bowed as the Dallas Center for Performing Arts.

...“If we’re going to have a great performing arts center in this city for decades to come,” said Doug Curtis, the AT&T PAC’s president and CEO, “we need to solve this debt now and not let it linger.”

...It’s also completely unexpected: When the city took control of the center seven years ago, it was never with the expectation that the city would have to assume any of its debt. It was a gift, plain and simple.

...“As of August 2011, the AT&T PAC was still $50 million short of covering these bonds,” said the study. “Both the sluggish pace of recession fundraising and operating deficits in the first two years of operations contributed to this shortfall.”

...“It’s frustrating to have to bail out the facility because of the bad decisions and lack of transparency of the people responsible for building it,” he said. “But because the city owns the facility, we’re left with no better options.”