Denver Concert Hall Overhaul to Cost $40 Million or More

Classic Arts News   Denver Concert Hall Overhaul to Cost $40 Million or More
An overhaul of the Denver Performing Arts Complex's Boettcher Concert Hall will cost significantly more than originally estimated, the Denver Post reports.

The original price tag for the renovations, which would include solving the hall's acoustical problems, was $25-$40 million. The estimate has grown to $40 million or more.

Jack Finlaw, director of the city's division of theaters and arenas, changed his projections after consulting with Artec, the New York firm assessing the concert hall's problems.

Finlaw told the paper that he believes the overhaul will amount to gutting the concert hall and building a new interior, a similar approach taken with the recent $88.8 million renovation of the Auditorium Theatre, another Denver Performing Arts Complex venue.

Artec's report praises the hall's sightlines, but criticizes almost everything else. "There is a consensus that the concert experience for patrons at Boettcher is not ideal and is in many ways unpleasant," the report says. "The lobby area is rather narrow, lacking in both grandeur, spaciousness, and comfort."

The hall's acoustics also came under the consultants' scrutiny: "Throughout our interview process, comments concerning the acoustics of the hall were uniformly negative.... The listening impressions of the Artec team confirmed the comments."

Funding for the overhaul remains uncertain. The Colorado Symphony has pledged to raise as much as a quarter of the costs, but according to Finlaw, "I think the only way that this project can move forward is if first the mayor and City Council, and then the voters, would agree to fund this with some kind of bond initiative."

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