Agreement reached on Kalet building

2010-12-18T03:30:00Z Agreement reached on Kalet buildingChristopher Caskey The Citizen Auburn Citizen
December 18, 2010 3:30 am  • 

More plans are falling into place for the use of a performing arts center project in downtown Auburn.

According to an announcement released earlier this week by Cayuga Community College, the college and organizers of an annual musical theater festival have reached a 25-year agreement to share the 384-seat theater on State Street.

Under the agreement, the school will use the facility from September through the middle of May for acting and technical courses. The building will then become one of the multiple festival venues during the summer.

However, CCC will still have a presence during the festival season, as the festival will offer internships for students in areas like performance, design, lighting, management, marketing and other operations.

“This community partnership will help attract (theater) students through expanded learning and production opportunities, while our entire region becomes a cultural destination for high-quality shows ranging from experimental to classic,” college president Daniel Larson said in a written statement.

Earlier in the week, the Cayuga County Legislature approved a resolution authorizing the purchase of the State Street building that formerly housed Kalet’s department store. The property currently belongs to the city of Auburn, and the city plans to demolish the building in the spring before transferring the property to the county. That transfer must take place for the college to build the theater.

Half of the $4.8 million project will be funded by the state, with the remaining funds coming from the festival organizers and investors. The city agreed to pay for the demolition, with local foundations paying back half those costs.

The festival is expected to begin Spring 2012, though the Kalet

theater will not host a festival show until the second season, organizers have said.

CCC officials said on Friday that construction is expected to take approximately a year once demolition is completed, depending on weather, with a goal of opening the facility for the fall 2012 semester.

The theater is expected to be one of four venues for the festival, which organizers say will offer multiple musical theater productions every year. The other venues include the 500-seat Merry-Go-Round Playhouse at Emerson Park, the 200-seat Auburn Public Theater on Genesee Street and the 115-seat carriage house theater located at the Cayuga Museum.

Staff writer Christopher Caskey can be reached at 282-2282 or Follow him on Twitter at CitizenCaskey


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(14) Comments

  1. oracle
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    oracle - December 20, 2010 8:53 am
    Fullclarity is not looking at the picture obviously he lack full clarity of the subject – I had seen copies of this "study" and the "survey." The list of respondents at the end of the survey study read like the "Who's-Who" of the individuals of the MTF. Great survey/study to get the answer you want –only give it to people who will give you the answer that you want! The big problem is a few trying to get the local taxpayers to pay for this scam. I would only welcome the public spending if the MTF and their backers personally guarantee the economic returns that they boast. When they agree to do this great, but if not - why should the taxpayer's money be at risk if this is such a good idea?
  2. patchwork
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    patchwork - December 20, 2010 7:43 am
    Again, if this is such a great investment, why did the investors need to have my tax dollars to subsidize their business venture? Do you have any idea how bad the financial condition of NYS is and how many analysts have said that major cuts will have to be made over the next few years and those cuts will trickle down to schools, colleges and municipalities? This is a waste of money at a time that we cannot afford it and its given to investors who can more than afford to pay their own way.
  3. fullclarity
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    fullclarity - December 19, 2010 8:57 pm
    It's good to see the Oracle and Patchwork have the full background and details. As I recall, the MTF had a feasibility study done that outlines the potential benefit to Auburn and Cayuga County. Have you ever visited Stratford, Ontario, or Niagara-on-the-Lake to see the impact of this kind of festival? It should help to raise many, many boats in our community, not just a select few. From what I've see, heard, and read, this project should help to rejuvenate this region. So, Oracle, what's the reasoning to that?
  4. The Word
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    The Word - December 19, 2010 12:58 pm
    Don't count your Chickens MTF!
  5. patchwork
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    patchwork - December 19, 2010 10:51 am
    fullclarity says "This project, coupled with the MTF, seems to have great potential for Auburn, Cayuga County, and Central New York".

    Based on what, the projections of those investors who stand to gain? What is the projected bill for the taxpayers and what are the projected profits for the investors? If this was such a great project, why do they need money from us the taxpayers, to make it work? We have seen this shell game before, follow the money if you can, and where it turns up nobody knows, because most of the investors are unknown.
  6. oracle
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    oracle - December 18, 2010 11:23 pm
    The college is just being used as a front to get this albatross on the backs of the taxpayers for the profit of the State Street speculators. Since they have bought up those properties the “Creative Corridor” is nothing but a dead zone. The State St speculators are looking for this to move forward to “jump start” their investments – no secret here. The forward motion of this will pick the pockets of the taxpayers and serve to benefit very few. The college has a theater on campus and is more than adequate for their academic needs. The only potential this project has is to bleed the taxpayers – the city intended only to give the building and now the taxpayers are to be burdened for demolition costs that were already included in the budget request for SUNY funding. The “expert” below does not have any credibility here – not knowing the real behind the scenes reasoning or is a part of the scam!
  7. fullclarity
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    fullclarity - December 18, 2010 10:28 pm
    For all the experts, pundits, and naysayers, have any of you asked the college about this project? Do any of you really know those details? If you do, great! If not, perhaps you should find out before you offer your expert advice and perspective about what's going on. This project, coupled with the MTF, seems to have great potential for Auburn, Cayuga County, and Central New York. What is it that you really fear about it? Renewal of our community? Or is it something else?
  8. mamimbe
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    mamimbe - December 18, 2010 2:08 pm
    The Schines is a money black-hole that has to go. The Kalet and hotel projects is going to happen if we like it or not.
  9. patchwork
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    patchwork - December 18, 2010 12:17 pm
    quest, naysayers? How many wise real estate deals has the city and county made recently, or the college for that matter? Remember the Wait Bldg, Columbian Rope Complex on W Genesee, and how the city poured hundreds of thousands into the Kalet Building not too long ago? How well did they do on those investments? Almost everytime our local governments get involved in these deals, we get burned, while a chosen few seem to profit and yes there were naysayers and those like you who were blinded by promises of prosperity.
  10. steveporten
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    steveporten - December 18, 2010 11:16 am
    348 seat theater....Just what the city needs. Now, has anyone thought out the idea of where these fine theater folks are going to PARK??? Maybe we can have a show the same time the church is having a mass. That would be fun. But the new Hotel that we need will have plenty of parking. Maybe another parking garage is in the future.
  11. quest
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    quest - December 18, 2010 10:41 am
    Tear down the Schines and let Wegmans expand! The schines has been a money pit for years now. Just goes to show that the historical society is a worthless committee, and is a waste of money for anyone who donates to it. It will cost 40 MILLION to renovate that because even the door handles must be approved by the Historical society, and be in the old retro style.

    The new kalets Theatre will be done because it is NOT under the restrictions that the Schines is! It will be funded through the college and it will sustain itself as profitable entity through student tuitions.

    Gotta love all the naysayers in this county.
  12. patchwork
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    patchwork - December 18, 2010 10:06 am
    Alot is riding on this venture, no doubt alot of arm twisting went on behind the scenes to get some on board which benefits other projects that are tied in to the bigger plan. Amazing how some only invest when tax dollars subsidize their projects which minimizes their risk and pretty much guarantees a profit while others are forced to make it on their own. We, as taxpayers are once again subsidizing wealthy investors who have the advantage of lobbying government officials who force us to be partners, while not sharing in the profits. I'd like to know the total amount of tax dollars, credits and PILOTS vs the amount of private dollars on this entire State St Plan.
  13. Unknown
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    Unknown - December 18, 2010 8:37 am
    What a waste of money, when they could put the money into the Schines theater. Sure, tear down the Kalet building, that is way past saving, but save the Schines.
  14. Dan W
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    Dan W - December 18, 2010 4:48 am
    I see a huge pork barrel waste of taxpayers money here. Money dosen't grow on trees. Lets borrow more from China, that is sound financial planning
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