If growth is a measure of success, then the Midtown Arts Center is successfully out of room!
The New Midtown Arts Center
Creating the Vision
In 2006, Eugene Ballet purchased and began renovating the 13,700 square foot building at 1590 Willamette Street in Midtown Eugene. Since then, Midtown Arts Center has provided a home for Eugene Ballet. Eugene Ballet’s long term vision of financially supporting this home included bringing seven additional nonprofit arts organizations under its roof, generating income by keeping rents consistently below commercial rates, and sharing infrastructure and general maintenance costs. Increased interactivity between the organizations was also intended to promote cost savings and enriching collaborations.
“The arts are vital to Eugene’s quality of life. And the Eugene Ballet, as our leading dance company, is a huge asset to this community.”— Bridget Baker, President, Baker Family Foundation
What began as a novel idea over 10 years ago—to bring together seven of Eugene’s signature non-profit arts organizations into one building—has been experienced as a tremendous success for all of the organizations involved.
“Ballet companies that have their own buildings designed by themselves, such as Pacific Northwest Ballet and the San Francisco Ballet, are in a healthier condition overall.”— Martha Ullman West, Former Senior Advising Editor, Dance Magazine
Seeing the Success
Midtown Arts Center’s successful operational model has contributed to the growth of each organization housed within it. Collectively they have seen a 58% increase in personnel. The Academy’s attendance has increased more than 40%. In addition, programs created by these organizations extend beyond the Center’s walls, serving further into the community with educational outreach, in-school residencies, rural touring initiatives and increased number of performances. This lively arts space has served its occupants well as each organization has evolved and grown, eventually creating the need for additional space. To strengthen the foundations of each organization, allowing them to push their resources further afield to increase access to the arts, Eugene Ballet is looking to reinvest its current equity and experiences into a new, expanded and permanent home.
Now there is an opportunity to lift this success to the next level by assuring that the future growth of these organizations is limited not by the size of their facility, but only by the reach of their vision.
This project has the potential to lift the success of the original Midtown Arts Center to the next level by helping to assure that the future growth of these organizations are limited not by the size of their facility, but only by the reach of their vision.
The completed project will provide new housing, vibrancy and arts engagement to Eugene’s Midtown, catalyzing adjacent development, restaurants and street life, and enhancing the quality of living in this area.
Believing in Partnership
Eugene Ballet is working with Alex Haugland, a longtime supporter of Eugene’s local performing arts groups, and a team which includes Dustrud Architecture, Essex Construction and Paradigm Properties, to redevelop a 20,000 square-foot parcel of land at 16th Avenue and Pearl Street into a mixed-use commercial condominium project that combines expanded nonprofit spaces for the Midtown Arts Center on the first two floors with privately-owned apartments, townhouses and condominiums on the floors above. This opportunity allows Eugene Ballet to own a new permanent home designed specifically to expand the capacity of its Academy while also providing increased accessibility to valuable rehearsal spaces for Eugene Ballet and other Eugene nonprofit arts organizations.
Building on History
Combining private development with nonprofit funding may seem unconventional. However, precedents for the proposed style of development exist and illustrate unique partnerships that incorporate the highly sought-after support of private financing for nonprofit arts groups:
- The Balboa Theater in San Diego is a building dating back to 1924 that included a “wrap” of office spaces around the exterior of the theater.
- The New York City Ballet and the School of American Ballet are currently housed in the lower floors of a luxury apartment building.
Investing on Assets
Since the apartments and condominiums are being funded by Alex Haugland and additional private investors, Eugene Ballet will only be responsible to raise the funds necessary to purchase and build out the portion of the building allocated for the New Midtown Arts Center. Eugene Ballet will provide 33% of those funds through the sale of its current property, where Eugene Ballet will remain until completion of the project, scheduled for December, 2020.
Project funding goals:
- $2.3 million from Eugene Ballet’s current property
- $3.75 million through individual/foundation support
- $750,000 through government support
Total Project Budget: $6.8 million
Total Remaining to be Raised: $3 million
Eugene Ballet will own the New Midtown Arts Center portion of the completed building. The arts organizations currently renting from Eugene Ballet have all expressed the desire to continue their arrangement in the new building.
Broadening the Outlook
Eugene Ballet’s commitment to this innovative collaboration is a significant investment in our community, and will provide:
- Increased access to dance studio space for an additional 150–200 children and 50–100 adults.
- Increased office, rehearsal and program development spaces for the current and future potential nonprofit arts organizations.
- Additional jobs for 150+ local workers during the construction and build out.
- Additional growth potential for 20 new positions within the nonprofit arts organizations.
- The living spaces designed above the New Midtown Arts Center will provide:
- Homes for more than 60 people
- Long-term financial support for Eugene Ballet
“I can’t express how much I appreciate the Ballet being here. It is very unusual for a community of this size to have such a fine cultural resource.”— Rosaria Haugland, Community Leader