Tivoli Expansion Cost Rises To $63 Million; Project Slated To Start At End Of Summer

  • Thursday, July 4, 2024

A project to transform and expand the historic Tivoli Theatre has risen to $63 million, officials said.

Nick Wilkinson, executive director of the Tivoli Foundation, said a drive to pull in the final $1 million that is needed is now underway. The city and county, who helped earlier, are being asked along with the Bobby Stone Foundation and other private groups for $200,000 each to provide the last funding.

He said a construction contract has been signed with the local T.U. Parks firm, and work is expected to start at the end of summer. The opening date is now envisioned for 2026.

In 2022, the project, that includes expansion into the adjacent former Fowler Furniture building, was estimated at $52 million.

Mr. Wilkinson said the project has been extremely complex, involving historic tax credits and a complicated financing scheme.

He said the city is fortunate to also have the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Auditorium so local shows have continued during the long pause at the Tivoli. The Tivoli opened in 1921 and the Auduitorium three years later.

As the years passed and the venues went under city operation, both the Tivoli and Auditorium fell on hard times. However, the transition to operation by the not-for-profit Tivoli Foundation has brought an influx of shows and income. The Foundation has been turning a profit and putting over $10 million in capital improvements into the venues.

The Tivoli has been shuttered since August 2022.

That came after the Tivoli was able to purchase the handsome building next door for $3.2 million.

Mr. Wilkinson said during the shutdown work has been ongoing to get all the needed environmental clearances at the Tivoli. He said that has been completed.

The planned Tivoli Performing Arts Center will include expanded performance and rehearsal space, additional and larger bathrooms and concessions, easily accessible elevators, improved ventilation systems, and upgrades to support a commitment to sustainability.

The performing arts center’s 250-seat Bobby Stone Theatre will offer a film series and Camp Broadway for school-aged children. Retractable seating makes the theatre versatile. The space can be used by Chattanooga Ballet and Chattanooga Symphony and Opera for rehearsals.

 

 

 

 

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