Baltimore Symphony Proposes Selling Meyerhoff Hall to Pay Down Debt

Classic Arts News   Baltimore Symphony Proposes Selling Meyerhoff Hall to Pay Down Debt
The Baltimore Symphony has proposed a plan to sell its concert hall in order to pay off a deficit expected to reach $12 million by 2008, the Baltimore Sun reports.

According to the plan, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall would be sold to a new nonprofit subsidiary of the orchestra. The BSO would then lease the venue from the organization, using the profit to pay down debt and shore up the organization's $78 million endowment.

The value of Meyerhoff Symphony Hall is estimated at more than $30 million.

"What we've tried to do is construct a way of financing this deficit in the most creative manner that we can and that doesn't harm the institution," BSO board chairman Philip English told the Sun.

The plan was approved by the board after BSO musicians signed a contract for the 2005-06 season, accepting pay and benefit concessions in return for eventually holding hiring power at the orchestra.

The contract would reduce the musician's base pay to $1,440 per week, and could save the orchestra as much as $1.6 million each year.

BSO officials are also looking to the ochestra's second home, the Music Center at Strathmore, set to open in February 2005, as an additional source of income.

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