UPDATE April 28, 2014: The Orlando City Council approved the lease.
Bungalower has learned the Orlando Ballet proposes to renovate and move into the Loch Haven Neighborhood Center.
The center is located at 610 N Lake Formosa Ave.
The Orlando Ballet will lease the property from the City or Orlando for 50 years (with options for renewal) with a rent of one dollar a year pending approval Orlando City Council.
The Ballet was leasing the Ivanhoe Building but had to leave due to mold being discovered in the building. Since then their school, company and offices have been operating out of different spaces around town.
As part of the agreement the Ballet must begin renovating and expanding the existing facility within the next seven years. At the very least the renovated building will need to be at least 22,000 square feet.
The Ballet provided the City with renderings of what a renovated facility could look like.
A spokesperson for the City told Bungalower that the Ballet already has a donor onboard to help support the renovation project and would also begin a capital campaign once the lease is signed.
“The Orlando Ballet desperately needs a permanent home for both its award-winning school and professional dance company. The organization is grateful that the city council is giving this idea consideration and fortifying the future of the ballet,” Sara Brady a spokesperson for the Orlando Ballet told Bungalower in a written statement.
The agreement between the City and the Orlando Ballet will go before City Council on Monday.
The City says agreement as a win, win.
“We’ve want to figure out a way to keep [the building], but it’s underutilized…the Ballet is going to lease and renovate… keeping the historic part in tact,” Cassandra Lafser a spokesperson for the City said.
The Loch Haven Neighborhood Center cost the City $56,000 last year even with income from rentals.
“It does host thirty community events each year and will continue to do,” Lafser added.
It’s currently used primarily as a meeting and event venue. According to the City the College Park Community Center was built to handle the needs of the area and once that center went on board, the Loch Haven facility became underutilized compared to the other centers.
There are seventeen other community centers managed by the City of Orlando’s Families, Parks and Recreation department.
The Loch Haven Center is located inside Loch Haven Park which is already home to a handful of Orlando’s cultural organizations.
The Ballet was one of three arts groups the was displaced by the mold in the Ivanhoe Building and one of many that are looking for facilities but Lafser said the Ballet is the only arts group to approach the city about making substantial improvements and renovating a city building.
The Ballet will be able to rent out the space for weddings, events or meetings. Subject to availability, the City may also use the facility up to six times per year at no cost.
The Ballet will be responsible for all costs of the building including all maintenance and will also have to have the building inspected during any lease renewal.
The agreement also references that both the City and the Ballet would like to see an outdoor performance space created but that a separate agreement would be needed to determine the details of how that facility could be shared.
As part of the agreement the Ballet has to provide programs for City of Orlando residents. Including:
- dance training and other programs for under-privileged youth and children with disabilities
- master classes targeting dance students currently enrolled in Orange County Public Schools
- national initiatives with other professional dance companies such as the American Ballet Theatre to introduce dance to the various diverse populations of the City of Orlando
- special benefit programs, which shall generally mean programs designed for and offered to City of Orlando residents, which shall include discounts and free performance benefits to residents of the City.
The Ballet also has to guarantee that they will:
- have in its school at least two hundred fifty active students, to be further detailed in an Annual Program Plan to be submitted to City for approval
- produce six performances annually by the Ballet’s Professional Company, three of which will be presented in the Dr. Phillip’s Performing Arts Center
- hold at least six “community outreach programs” to be specified in the Annual Program Plan
- hold at least two Special Benefit Programs
- hold a minimum of two city-wide open houses to be further defined in the Annual Program Plan, to encourage participation by Loch Haven Park Community Arts neighbors, city residents and neighbors.
The Ballet will also offer at least 10 ballet school scholarships each year based on customary criteria to resident of the City and distribute a portion of any excess tickets to performances to Orlando seniors or youth who might not otherwise be able to attend such events.
Here’s a look at concept renderings of the new facility, concept site and floor plans and what the Loch Haven Neighborhood Center currently looks like: