The Sacramento City Council has approved a proposal to combine the Community Center Theater and Sacramento Convention Center renovation projects.
The city will pay architects and consultants $2 million to finalize plans already underway for the theater and create a plan for new meeting space and possibly a ballroom for the convention center.
The council voted for theater center renovations over the objections of Rob Turner. He was chairman of a performing arts task force that recommended a new theater on a new site.
"We understand the refurbishment is a safer route," he says. "But, we ask that you build on the momentum of what we started with the arena and continue to think as big and bold as possible. We are no longer a community that needs to settle for second best."
Dennis Mangers is in favor of renovating the old theater.
"I too served on the mayor's task force, looking at the alternative of a new theater on a different site," he says. "There was no path to funding for such a theater. None of the sites were acceptable. It became very clear that we have a theater in the perfect site."
New theaters in other cities have cost between $250 million and $400 million dollars -not including the cost of land.
The city has estimated a total cost of the project at $200 million.
The city manager's office has proposed using $170 million in transient occupancy (hotel room) taxes, $10 million in previously-allocated funds, and $20 million in private donations to pay for the renovations.
The extent of the changes to the Convention Center will depend on the amount of private donations the city receives.
The city council vote was unanimous. Mayor Kevin Johnson did not attend.