Greensboro needs performing arts center like Durham’s, coliseum director says
GREENSBORO, N.C. — As Greensboro officials said a new performing arts center would have to compete with Durham’s, FOX8 drove to the Durham Performing Arts Center Thursday to see what makes the venue so special.
DPAC, as it’s often known, opened in 2008 and has about 200 shows a year. DPAC officials said more than 400,000 people went through its doors last year.
“We’re actually the number four venue in the nation in terms of attendance. We’re very proud of that,” said Reginald Johnson, with the Durham Department of Community Development.
Also proud are neighboring restaurants, which have seen business boom.
“Certainly the theater brings in more business than you could imagine. It’s wonderful to have. It’s a great critical mass here, because we’ve got so many restaurants with more planned,” said Mary Morabito, who co-owns Cuban Revolution Restaurant across the street from DPAC.
Morabito said Cuban Revolution decided to open there because of the 2,800-seat DPAC.
It took seven years from the first discussion before DPAC was finally opened.
“It did take some work. You’re not able to just snap your fingers, and that kind of money comes together,” Johnson said.
It cost $48 million to build, but taxpayers were never asked to help back it with a bond.
Instead, private donations and a bank loan paid for the structure, and the city is using hotel/motel occupancy taxes to pay off the loan.
Greensboro Coliseum Director Matt Brown told Greensboro City Council Thursday that a new performing arts center would need parking, seating and other things similar to DPAC.
Brown wants the center built on the site of the aging War Memorial Auditorium. But the Community Foundation of Greensboro favors a downtown facility.
Council asked both groups to put together feasibility studies. A performing arts center task force of about 75 people have until June to make a recommendation to council.
The task force will take field trips to some cities that already have performing arts centers.