On Monday evening, Fredericton City Council-in-committee approved an expanded version of the existing Playhouse’s Queen Street site as the location for a new regional performing arts centre.
In December, Greg MacFarlane, Vice President of the Playhouse board, presented an option to construct a new centre, built in phases on the existing Playhouse site and extending onto a portion of St. John Street. The concept was recommended to Council as the preferred option, following two months of public consultation by the non-profit organization.
Having received a staff report, they adopted all six of the Playhouse recommendations regarding the project:
- Select the expanded Queen/St. John Street site as the location for a new regional performing arts centre;
- Approve an all-new construction development option that will be planned and designed in such a way as to reduce Playhouse closures as much as possible;
- Direct City staff to immediately conduct the necessary technical study of St. John Street to determine the best configurations of a reduced street width to accommodate the performing arts centre; and to consult with the Legislative Administration Committee accordingly;
- Direct City staff to work in partnership with Fredericton Playhouse Inc. to develop a procurement strategy for a design team for the Playhouse board and City Council’s consideration;
- Approve a construction budget of $33 million (excluding soft costs, site preparation, planning, campaign costs, and contingencies) to be used as a guide to develop the design; and
- Work with Fredericton Playhouse Inc. to resubmit the request for capital funding from the Province of New Brunswick and the Government of Canada, with the updated site, development plan, and project budget.
“We’re very pleased to have our recommendations approved,” MacFarlane said. “This project is about to get very real as we move forward with the design work. We are hopeful that our federal and provincial partners will also move quickly to confirm their investment so we can see shovels in the ground in 2019.”
MacFarlane indicated that Playhouse representatives intend to move quickly with their partners to complete the additional study work and to develop a process to hire a design team.
“Now that we have a confirmed site, we are excited to move forward at a more rapid pace, tackling the next phases concerning planning, design and funding.”
The building of a new regional performing arts centre is a priority for the non-profit organization and the City of Fredericton, as the current Playhouse facility is at the end of its life.