Santa Clara Concert Hall Costs Soar

SAN JOSE (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Santa Clara County’s long-promised and highly controversial plan to build a concert hall at the fairgrounds, at what was said to be no cost to taxpayers, will now run the country at least $15 million, according to a staff report on the project.

Faced with a $200 million budget deficit, county supervisors must either scrap the $96-million plan, or come up with a way to pay the extra costs that arose during the two-year legal battle with the city of San Jose, who hoped to stop competition with its downtown concert venue.

The project must receive support from at least four county supervisors, but, according to the San Jose Mercury News, support is flailing, with many supervisors hoping to avoid another losing proposition in the already debt-laden county.

The theater is still definitely viable, being that the city of San Jose will pay up $22.5 million to the county in a settlement for the lawsuit that sought to block the project.

The settlement money is earmarked for the county’s new crime lab project and seismic upgrades at Valley Medical Center, but the city’s money would free up county funds already committed to those projects.

Studies commissioned after settling the San Jose lawsuit concluded that apart from increased construction costs, the basic financial assumptions about the project still hold. The county would issue $108 million in bonds to cover the construction costs and interests after the county’s $15 million contribution. The bonds would be repaid strictly by revenue from the theater, with no obligation or risk to the county.

Construction on the 185,000-square-foot theater with 7,021 seats on three levels could begin in October, according to the paper, and be finished in two years. The expectation is for 94 concerts per year.

Assuming the theater performs as predicted by studies, with an average ticket price of $67 and an average attendance of 4,620, it would begin generating revenue for the county in its seventh year of operation. –by CelebityAccess Staff Writers