Planning for Atlanta Symphony's New Hall on Hold as Fundraising Stalls

Classic Arts News   Planning for Atlanta Symphony's New Hall on Hold as Fundraising Stalls
Plans for the proposed Atlanta Symphony Center to be designed by Santiago Calatrava are in flux, with fundraising stalled and the exact location of the venue still undecided, reports the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

14th Street in midtown Atlanta is currently designated as the site for the futuristic new 2,000-seat hall, designed by the star Spanish architect with a swooping "wing" over the main building (plus a smaller one over the adjacent education center). But Joe Bankoff, who began his tenure as CEO of Woodruff Arts Center (the Atlanta Symphony's parent organization) last month, told the paper that the location is being reconsidered. He added, however, that there are no plans yet to abandon the site.

The new hall, which was first proposed in 1999, would become home to the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. The ASO has raised $111 million, just over a third of the projected total cost, according to the Journal Constitution. An earlier article in the paper said the hall was initially projected to be completed by 2011.

According to the paper, the 14th Street site was allocated because another potential site nearby was thought too narrow.

Officials have said that another third of the projected cost needs to come from city and state government sources, according to the Journal Constitution, although Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue have not yet budgeted any money for the ASO's request.

Bankoff will also solicit funds from Woodruff trustees, few of whom have donated yet to the new hall.

Some patrons have yet to donate because they feel the price of the new hall is too high. High Museum of Art patron and former board president John Wieland told the Jounral Constitution, "There are great concert halls being built for $200 million around the country." Nashville's new Schermerhorn Symphony Center cost $123.5 million, for example.

Other potential donors remain committed, however, such as Woodruff chairman Neil Williams and ASO chairwoman Margaret Conant Reiser, whom the paper quotes as saying, "The Woodruff Arts Center and the ASO board both wholeheartedly support this new performance venue for the Atlanta Symphony and look forward to working with the community as we all move forward on this project."

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