Performing Arts Center budget being trimmed

NASHUA – Although a $367,500 New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority tax credit has been awarded for the downtown Performing Arts Center, Nashua Director of Economic Development Tim Cummings said officials have “taken a little bit of a pause.”

“Right now, we are trying to get back on schedule, but there is going to be a slight delay before we enter into the next phase, which is construction documents,” Cummings said on Tuesday after a special Board of Aldermen meeting.

Cummings also said decisions will need to be made in the near future to reduce the project’s cost.

“There’s decisions about reducing some elements of the current schematic design to be able to make that $12.5 million figure,” he said.

Architectural Design

Currently, the architectural design continues to progress, as officials have concluded schematic design with a majority of the decisions made, and have since begun design development, which will last up to 12 weeks. The city is about six weeks into design development already.

“I’ll also note that we have taken a little bit of a pause,” Cummings said.

He will have a better idea of how long that delay will be after tonight, but in the meantime, estimates it could be approximately two to four weeks.

However, during a May meeting with the architect and design team, an update was presented regarding the current design is unfolding with the initial cost estimates, resulting in these decisions needing to be made to keep costs down. The targeted budget now stands at $12.5 million, while Cummings said nothing would impact the intent of the design.

The PAC Steering Committee continues meeting nearly every other Wednesday in Room 208 at City Hall from 5 p.m to 7 p.m. The next meeting is today, and will feature a discussion on the design of the project.

New Market Tax Credits

In terms of New Market Tax Credits, officials are in the process of putting together the legal structures necessary to be able to complete the deal. This is being done in advance to be project-ready.

This involves Community Development Entities (CDEs). According to the U.S. Department of Treasury, a CDE is a “domestic corporation or partnership that is an intermediary vehicle for the provision of loans, investments, or financial counseling in low-income communities.”

Cummings and Niel Cannon attended a NMTC conference the first week in June, during which they promoted the Performing Arts Center and met with CDEs.

“We are focusing heavily right now on meeting with CDEs to try to obtain a commitment for an allocation,” Cummings said.

Officials are reaching out to businesses with the hopes that they will get involved, and there is a focus on gifts. Moreover, the foundation grant applications are being filed and the nonprofit paperwork will be filed this week. Cummings will be back before the Board of Aldermen next month with another PAC update.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.