Breaking news: Music Hall wins $25 million tax credit

In a press conference today at Music Hall, the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $25 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for the rehabilitation of Cincinnati Music Hall.

The agency said the project — which had stiff competition with several others in Ohio — is expected to spur revitalization in Over-the-Rhine.

What this means is that the project can now proceed. It’s a much-needed boost after losing the prospect of gaining $60 million from a new sales tax after being dumped from the “icon tax” levy.

Thanking the State of Ohio, Otto Budig, president of the Music Hall Revitalization Company and a member of the Cultural Facilities Task Force, said, “With this tax credit, we have raised nearly $100 million of the $123 million needed to restore Music Hall for generations to come.”

And, for the first time in more than a year, there is a timeline. Budig has told the Enquirer that construction could begin as early as this September for “back of the house” work. After the May Festival season ends in 2016, the hall would close until Fall of 2017.

Constructed in 1878, the National Historic Landmark is scheduled to undergo a $123.5 million rehab. The project is being led by the Music Hall Revitalization Corporation and Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC).

According the press release, the city-owned bridge from the garage in the CET building is now part of the project. (Take a look at this story to see its crumbling state.) Here’s the list:

On the exterior, blocked windows will be reopened and the deteriorated skywalk connecting to a rear parking garage will be removed.

Inside the building, upgrades will be made to mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems.

Modification to the building floor plan will provide additional rehearsal and event production spaces.

In the main auditorium, major upgrades will be made to correct uneven steps and floor transitions in order to improve accessibility and handicapped accommodations.

Event spaces, including the Ballroom and Corbett Tower, will receive kitchen and restroom upgrades to support additional events and functions.

Office spaces for the tenant organizations will be renovated and reconfigured for efficiency and organizational needs.

Watch for Bowdeya Tweh’s full report from Music Hall today. Here’s the previous story.

And here’s the list of what we have been reporting that Music Hall needs.

I’m still waiting for the updated plans about Springer Auditorium — which is slated to have a “thrust” stage — and is to lose more than 1,000 seats.

The Ohio Development Services Agency is permitted to issue one catalytic project award during each two-year state budget biennium. Catalytic projects are large-scale rehabilitation projects that will foster significant economic development within a 2,500 foot radius of the building and are eligible to receive up to $25 million in tax credits. The tax credit allocation is set-aside over a five year period.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio History Connection.

Music Hall is slated to have its windows "unbricked" so it loses the fortress-like exterior
Music Hall is slated to have its windows “unbricked” so it loses the fortress-like exterior

Please look lower on this blog for links to full coverage of Music Hall’s revitalization history.


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