Queen's University

Queen's outlines Tett Centre partnership proposal to the Kingston community

 
2006-04-10

Queen's has put forward a proposal to the community for a joint Kingston Cultural Centre/Queen's Performing Arts Campus on the Tett Centre site that would bring both new arts facilities to the city and some stability and support to valuable components of the existing arts community. For details, see page 3 of the April 10 Gazette.

Queen's aims to work with community to develop Tett site

Queen's has put forward a proposal to the community for a joint Kingston Cultural Centre/Queen's Performing Arts Campus on the Tett Centre site that would bring both new arts facilities to the city and some stability and support to valuable components of the existing arts community.

At the invitation of the City of Kingston, the university outlined its proposal for redevelopment of the former brewery site and its century-old limestone structures at a public meeting attracting about 150 local residents last Monday night.

The Queen's proposal calls for a new performing arts complex that would contain a 300-seat concert hall and a 200-seat theatre while also incorporating space for the Domino theatre company (should this option interest Domino).

Queen's proposes to purchase the site, with the exception of the Tett Centre, which could remain in city ownership or be placed in a trust for the arts and cultural community. Such an arrangement would be subject to an agreement that the proceeds of the sale be reinvested in the Tett building and used to assist in the capital development of a suitable facility for the Domino Theatre (which could be part of the new complex). Queen's would commit to negotiating a long-term lease with Domino to give it the security it needs.

“It was very gratifying to see the level of interest and receptiveness to this proposal in the audience,” says Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) Andrew Simpson. “I sensed that the arts community is ready to give this some serious consideration and to envision how this approach could benefit them and the larger community.

“We hope we've been successful in communicating our commitment to working with the city and the community in a respectful collaboration that will be mutually enriching and result in a significant enhancement of the cultural life of Kingston.”

A next-day editorial in the Kingston Whig-Standard noted that some anxiety on the part of those who use the centre, as the city moves to make the site more self-sustaining, appears to be dissipating. “Initial public reaction, much of its based on fear of losing a valuable public resource, has brought a generous response from Queen's, making the project much more viable.”

The Queen's proposal is one of three options the city is considering, as part of the current review undertaken by Artscape, the consulting firm commissioned by the City.

Should the Queen's proposal be accepted, no arts or cultural groups would be forced from the site. Any development undertaken by Queen's, in the event that the City is interested in pursuing this option, will be informed by commitments to:

  • Strengthen existing linkages with arts and cultural groups
  • Make the new concert hall and theatre open for bookings from community groups
  • Work with the city to meet the needs of Domino and Tett Centre tenants
  • Heritage (i.e. renewing the historic elements of the Steller Buck building and proposing the use of the acquisition proceeds be used for the renewal of the Tett building).
  • Public accessibility of waterfront, including the development of an outdoor amphitheatre for summer performances.
  • Enhanced access to and awareness of the new Kingston Cultural Centre/Queen's Performing Arts Campus.
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