Monday, February 02, 2009

The Show Must Go On

Downtown could soon be regaining an important cultural venue.

According to the Business Journal, Dave Checketts and SCP Partners are attempting to finally move forward with plans to renovate the long-vacant Kiel Opera House.  If all goes according to plan, construction on the $50-$60 million project would begin in late spring or early summer, with reopening targeted for late 2010.  The venue would be used primarily to host Broadway shows and concerts, taking advantage of SCP’s experience and relationships in booking and producing such performances.

SCP is partnering with McEagle Development, and Paric Corp. would serve as the general contractor.  The city has hired Thompson Coburn to assist it in talks with the developers.

Said Ken Munoz of SCP:

This remains a great project, and I think it absolutely will happen.  We’re going to try to put together a financial plan that makes sense for us, and we certainly want the city’s support. It may be harder to do considering the constraints on credit and the overall economy, but we remain resolute that this is something we will get done.

Economics change, but this is going to be a first-class renovation.  We are not looking to do this less expensively. We are looking to do this correctly. We want something we’ll be very proud of.

The redevelopment of the Kiel Opera House would mark an important step in downtown’s renaissance, bringing people to the area from all over.  One issue with the Kiel though is that it is relatively isolated from the rest of downtown.  Many patrons of Kiel events may be tempted to just get in their cars and go back home after their events have concluded, as there are few bars and restaurants within a short walk of the venue.

Fortunately, SCP has also expressed an interest in developing properties adjacent to the Kiel Opera House and Scottrade Center, which would provide a tremendous boost to the area.  With complementary development on the surface lots near city hall and the Scottrade Center, the southern corridor of downtown from Broadway to 18th could be a very exciting place to be, with Ballpark Village, Cupples Station and Union Station forming a cohesive, walkable district.

1 comment:

Matt Kastner said...

They have been talking about this for so long, I can't help but be skeptical.