RCT Emergency Repairs Underway
Construction company hired by Duluth Downtown Development Authority to stop basement flooding, keep end wall from collapsing into basement.
Emergency repairs began this week to stop flooding in the basement and stabilize the end wall at the Red Clay Theatre.
Duluth Economic Development Manager Chris McGahee reported at the Aug. 21 Downtown Development Authority meeting that Smyrna-based Benning Construction Co. had been hired to do the work. The DDA had authorized the repairs on a cost-plus basis at a called meeting Aug. 9 after learning the end wall was in danger of collapsing into the basement.
DDA Vice President Rob Ponder said that Benning was expected to provide a cost estimate for the repairs based on its findings within two weeks. Work began Monday, Aug. 20. The DDA is paying for the repairs.
Ponder recommended that DDA proceed with preparing a RFP and soliciting bids for other improvements proposed at the RCT that include expanding the basement and developing a foundation-ready site for future development on vacant land between Pure Taqueria and the theatre. The city owns the Red Clay Theatre.
The city is hosting a Gwinnett Redevelopment Forum Oct. 11 at the Red Clay Theatre that will attract about 200 developers and decision-makers for a program featuring experts on downtown redevelopment, McGahee said.
“It’s a great honor for Duluth” to be chosen as the conference site, he said. The selection was based on a need to have “an active redevelopment site to serve as a model,” McGahee said. Including RCT and the [Old City Hall] Block, “there are a lot of examples right here in downtown Duluth.” Mayor Nancy Harris and Owen will welcome visitors to the half-day conference, he said.
Conference participants will be provided with vouchers to have lunch at downtown Duluth restaurants that can be used that day or later, McGahee said.
As a prelude to the fall conference, Duluth city officials are participating in an all-day redevelopment bus tour Friday, Aug. 24, to Smyrna and Woodstock, he said.
Duluth City Manager Tim Shearer suggested that the city consider empowering the DDA to become more involved in downtown redevelopment including leasing city-owned buildings on the Block, collecting rent from the merchants, and using the rent money for renovations. “The DDA would spearhead the [downtown] redevelopment effort,” Shearer said.
McGahee also reported that a contract between the DDA and Eddie Owen to book acts and manage the Red Clay Theatre had been approved by the city attorney and signed by both parties. The management agreement requires Owen and “Eddie Owen Presents” to stage 10 ticketed shows a month (120 a year) on stage at the Red Clay Theatre. The DDA will provide Owen with $75,000 for his professional services. The contract is now in effect, McGahee said.
The agreement does not include a $20,000 fund that had been proposed to cover shortfalls in door receipts for name acts guaranteed a fee to appear at RCT. “DDA decided not to go with it,” McGahee said.
DDA member Greg Lindquist has been appointed the liaison between the DDA and EOP. The agreement requires Owen to present regular reports on RCT to the DDA. Also, as part of the agreement, Owen would be involved in planning to increase utilization of the Duluth Festival Center stage.