New Cultural Center in Downtown Columbia moves forward
Yesterday, County Executive Calvin Ball posted on Facebook about how the New Cultural Center (NCC) in Downtown Columbia will be financed. Located at the site where Toby's Dinner Theater currently sits, the NCC will be a mixed-used, mixed-income development that includes a new home for Toby's dinner theater, a children's theater, a blackbox theater for use by the Department of Recreation and Parks, multiple classrooms and gallery space for artists and arts-related programming, a parking garage, and a cafe. Additionally, 174 residential units, 50% of which are affordable, will integrate arts organizations and artists under one roof by providing affordable housing to artists and creating, a year-round laboratory for artists and art-lovers alike.
County Executive Calvin Ball posted the following to his Facebook page about financing the project:
The New Cultural Center in Downtown Columbia has been a vision for a decade, and we are finally making it a reality. This project will establish Downtown Columbia as a visual and performing arts hub for the region.
The residential portion of the funding will be financed exclusively through the Howard County Housing Commission. The full cost of the nonresidential portion of the NCC, including the corresponding parking garage spaces, totaling $72.9 million, will be financed through GO Bonds issued by Howard County, TIF bonds, and through a state grant and personal donation.
It is important to note that the GO bonds issued for this project are paid back with revenue generated from the Center and property tax revenues collected in Downtown Columbia, which does not count against the County’s annual debt limit.
Ball also posted a picture of a brochure on the project, which reads as follows:
About & History
The NCC is a mixed-use, mixed income development which will contain Toby's dinner theater, a children's theater, a children's theater, a blackbox theater for use by the Department of Recreation and Parks, and multiple classrooms and gallery space for artists and arts-related programming. There will also be 174 residential unites, 50% of which are affordable.
Conversation to Mixed-Used
The concept of the NCC took an additional turn in 2016 with the passage of the Development Rights and Responsibilities (DRRA) agreement with HRD. The DRRA required the development of five Low-Income Housing Tax Credit projects. Four of these five projects would be merged with planned public facilities in Downtown Columbia, the NCC being one of them. The residential portion of the funding will be financed exclusively through the Howard County Housing Commission. The full cost of the non-residential portion of the NCC will be financed through GO Bonds, TIF bonds, a state grant, and personal donations.
The phases of construction are as follows:
Phase 1: Toby's Dinner Theater
Phase 2: Parking Garage
Phase 3: Remaining Non-residential portions of the DCC
Phase 4: Residential Units
Renderings of the design of the building, from the website of developer Orchard Development, are below: