The Bellevue City Council on Monday moved to offer up to $20 million towards construction of Tateuchi Center, a 2,000-seat performing arts center in downtown Bellevue, to fill a void long expressed by community leaders.
The city’s offer to invest is contingent to reaching a contract with Performing Arts Center Eastside (PACE), a non-profit agency that has facilitated fundraising and designs for the Tateuchi Center since 2002.
Pursuant to the agreement, the city will require: that public programming be incorporated at the performance center; it retain a security share in the center; and the guarantee to be repaid if PACE’s programming and contractual obligations are unfulfilled. That would include a PACE commitment for 50 years of operation and public programming.
According to a city news release, “It has been a long-standing dream of this council, and the councils before us, to have a major performing arts center in our city,” said Mayor Claudia Balducci.
PACE has raised more than $64 million, however the total cost of the project, including first year operations, is estimated at $198.1 million.
Establishing a performing arts center in downtown Bellevue has been part of the city’s stated policy since 2004. In 2013, PACE requested the City of Bellevue’s to help facilitate the project into reality. After analysis, and a feasibility study by an independent consulting firm, the council agreed.
“Our 2035 vision for Bellevue states that ‘we celebrate all aspects of our culture.’ Last night’s commitment of $20 million is an opportunity for us to fulfill this part of our vision,” said Councilmember John Stokes
Next steps include the PACE Board obtaining the necessary private capital to meet project requirements. The city will require the yet-to-be raised funds needed for construction by September 1, 2016. The City’s proposed portion would be delivered in 2019, after construction of the facility has been nearly completed.
City Manager Brad Miyake was authorized to negotiate an agreement with PACE over the next two months. Given successful negotiations, the council could vote on a final agreement in the fall.
Some council members expressed interest in using hotel-motel tax revenue towards the city’s contribution, subject to negotiation with the Bellevue Convention Center Authority.
Between 2019 and 2025, funding would need to come from other sources. The council’s desire is to avoid a tax increase and not to tap the city’s capital projects fund.
Tateuchi Center, so named for Bellevue’s Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, originally committed $25 million to the project in 2010.