Photo by Texas Film Commission
Wednesday December 7, 2022 Chad Swiatecki
The Millennium Youth Entertainment Complex could be one of the first two sites to receive a portion of the city’s $12 million bond fund for preserving creative spaces.
On Thursday, the city council will vote on a request from the Austin Economic Development Corporation to authorize the use of $2.4 million from the bond fund for two projects. Millennium received $400,000 to upgrade facilities to support film and cinema use and general use by creative organizations, with funding for improvements coming from the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget. You can
The remaining $2 million will be used to renovate more than 7,000 square feet of space in the city’s permit development centers on Highland Mall Boulevard and Middle Fiskville Road. This fund will provide exhibition and working spaces for the visual and performing arts, with a variety of shared working spaces, art galleries, daytime cafés, and general catering areas.
These two sites on city grounds are the fastest to move forward, out of 14 sites selected from 45 proposals submitted and evaluated by EDC over the past year. More transactions are expected to be submitted to the board for approval early next year.
Theresa Alvarez, CEO of EDC, said the proposal and evaluation process included a potential survey of 16 future projects beyond 45 formal applicants, representing the city’s creative and music communities. He said it had become clear that more than $300 million would be needed to meet the needs. As the city of Austin continues to grow, artists and organizations are under cost-of-living pressure, and the city council and other leaders are keen to apply the lessons learned from her 2018 bond fundraising to her next 2024 bond. I would like to use it to create a proposal.
Alvarez said the EDC was created to complete real estate transactions more quickly than city departments and would likely seek exemptions for future bond-funded projects, which would allow the council to approval is no longer required, allowing groups to complete council-led projects. Make commerce faster.
Part of the reason for the slow pace of the initial deal was that the city’s legal department had persistent concerns about how broadly the state would allow the use of bond funds. Those questions were prominent in his 2018, when the arts community was deciding how much to ask voters. City attorneys cautioned against what proponents could say about what construction or purchase transactions would receive money.
“I talked about the urgency and having to deal with the loss of a cultural group that is falling behind and unable to pay rent and stay in Austin,” she said. One of the improvements we have made is giving our board of directors delegation powers so we can get things moving in a faster process.”
City Councilman Vanessa Fuentes praised EDC’s first two projects for helping young and established artists across the city and giving the group more autonomy in carrying out their work. Demonstrated support for giving.
“The intent of creating (EDC) was to allow us to move more nimbly and quickly than the City of Austin process. support,” she said.
Council member Ann Kitchen, one of the most vocal proponents of the concept of cultural trust, says the slow pace of creative space bond money transactions at a time when artists and musicians are increasingly being displaced is unacceptable. said.
“We have learned a lot about the bonding process and hopefully in 2024 there will be a bond that expands the creative space as the previous bond was very small. “It doesn’t work to take four years to spend $12 million when our cultural institutions are running out of creative space,” she said. “One of the reasons we created EDC was to act faster than we could as a city. We are responsible for and retain authority over the use of dollars, but actual implementation needs to move faster.”
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