Letter to the Editor | Center for the Arts lease needs more public input, lost revenue at stake

Julie Reichle

801 Magnolia Avenue

The City Council has on its Agenda on November 16 “lame duck” session (prior to new Council Member Conna McCarthy joining the Council) to vote on a significant cost for the City of Piedmont asset of granting a lease at $1.00 per year to a sub-rental service, when the historical goal was to create a possible $250,000 per year revenue center for the City of Piedmont.

On the Agenda is the lease for the Piedmont Center for the Arts and “sub rental service.” A new 10-year lease for half of the city-owned building at 801 Magnolia Avenue is designed to help rent to the Arts Community,  but also simply be a “sub-rental service.” 

Just to be clear, a 10-year lease for $1 is possibly worth $1.7 – $2.5 million, over 10 years, of lost revenue opportunity for the City of Piedmont. We believe this contract deserves further analysis and discussion.

A newly elected Piedmont City Council and Finance Advisory Committee and/or the Recreation Department will be able to take time for public input and a look at all options for the use of this building including the continued help to the Arts rather than sub-rental service. 

The current friendly lease expires in 7 months leaving a lot of time for best solutions.

Please write to the Mayor and City Council today (CityClerk@piedmont.ca.gov) and ask for delay, analysis and open discussion!

6 thoughts on “Letter to the Editor | Center for the Arts lease needs more public input, lost revenue at stake

  1. With the defeat of TT, shouldn’t the city be looking for revenue sources? Proponents of the lease should explain why city management of the building would mean the end of arts and music there? The city would obviously partner with the Center Board to maintain the programming they sponsor there. Grow the facility with more diverse programming.

  2. Ok
    Restructure the Lease $$$
    Make our Center For the Arts a throw away commodity….
    The Arts can obviously not afford market rates which again makes this campaign of revenue truly political …
    Let’s applaud the community efforts made and celebrate what we have …
    “A City without the Art & Music community is a City without soul”
    DJ Grubb

  3. DJ misses the point – no one is talking about “paving” the arts center. Certainly not Nancy. The point is that the lease for this public building is coming up for renewal in June 2021 and the public should have input. Why wouldn’t City Council hold a public hearing on use of the building? By bringing lease renewal forward prematurely, it seems someone in City Hall has already made that decision for the community and for Council.

  4. Inappropriately City Hall is now rushing the lease renewal. The lease has eight months to run and many have called for a wider community discussion before Council weighs in on this. Overriding is the passage of UU as there will be new uses for 801 Magnolia as in 2016 the City changed the zone use in City Center (without a required resident vote) and added commercial activity.

    Fortunately the social and human experience of Art in Piedmont can continue and expand under City management with generous blocks of time being given to the Art Center so it can continue its programs unabated.

  5. The City has enjoyed the community “equity” of the Center for some time now ..
    This contest about revenue loss is irrelevant considering the social and human experience of the Arts .
    “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot”
    That’s the financial reasoning in this debate ???
    Maintain the soul of the Community Center for the Arts ..
    We should be thankful we have such a facility !
    D.J. Grubb

  6. Nancy raises a ton of good reasons to postpone lease renewal. I haven’t heard one reason why to proceed now. Nancy points out the obvious revenue the city will gain by managing the facility, all the while PCA still delivers its programming. Others have asked for more diverse programming. The most obvious benefit is the need for workplace distancing for city employees, many who could return to work to provide services to residents. No doubt the district could make use of the space as well.

    There are two ways matters get agendized for City Council. Future agenda items can be proposed by any council member, allowing the City Clerk to notice the item well in advance. The other way is for the mayor or city administrator to put a matter on the agenda, posting the agenda the Friday before the meeting when the matter will be heard. That is what appears to be happening with the 801 lease. It will be up to the other 4 council members to see that use of 801 gets a proper review and input from the community.

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