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Music Hall renovation secures more funding, nearing goal

Sarah Ramsey

Music Hall supporters are another step closer to their fundraising goal to renovate the aging performance center.

Thursday the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded the project $25 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits. The normal credit is $5 million but the agency is allowed to award one "catalytic project" every two years. To qualify, projects must be large-scale rehabilitation efforts "that will foster significant economic development within a 2,500 foot radius of the building." This cycle, the agency chose Music Hall.

"Today, Christmas came early for Cincinnati Music Hall." - Oh. Sen Bill Seitz

Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
Ohio Development Services Agency Director David Goodman announces $25 million in state historic tax credits for the Music Hall renovation project.

Agency director David Goodman says, "The work that you're doing investing in this (Over-the-Rhine) community... and making it what it is and what it can be, is something that isn't going to be recognized just here in Ohio or in the United States. This is a destination that is global in its impact."

Where the Numbers Stand

The financing is complicated but fundraising council Scott Provancher says the project is about $20 - $25 million shy of the projected total cost.

Here's the breakdown:

  • Approximately $43 million in state and federal historic tax credits
  • $40 million in private giving
  • $5 million from the State Capital Budget
  • $10 million from the City of Cincinnati

Roughly $5 million might also be coming from the city. That leaves about $20 million left to raise. The preservation task force puts the project cost at $123 million. The state is including some planning funds that have already been spent to put the total at $127.5 million.
Music Hall Revitalization Company president (and Cincinnati Public Radio board member) Otto Budig says he anticipates raising the remaining $20 million during the next six months. If that is indeed what happens, he says the project could be "shovel ready" by Fall 2015. By that timeline, a renovated Music Hall could be ready for the 2017-2018 season.

Tana Weingartner earned a bachelor's degree in communication from the University of Cincinnati and a master's degree in mass communication from Miami University. Prior to joining Cincinnati Public Radio, she served as news and public affairs producer with WMUB-FM. Ms. Weingartner has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including several Best Reporter awards from the Associated Press and the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists, and a regional Murrow Award. She enjoys snow skiing, soccer and dogs.