Music Hall likely to face another holdup

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Music Hall officials have announced another potential setback in the effort to repair the iconic structure.

Monday Music Hall leaders sent out an email alerting patrons to a "near certain" delay of the anticipated revitalization project. The renovations are estimated at $165 million.

The delay would be the third time the construction has been postponed. In total, the revitalization project is estimated to cost $165 million. It was slated to start in May of 2014 and wrap up in the fall of 2015.

Currently the city has promised $10 million to the project. The city's contribution includes $4 million pulled from the defunct Atrium project.

An additional $12 million has already committed to the project from private sources.

At the same time, the project is being complicated by performance scheduling that has to happen years in advance, looming tax credit application deadlines, and a major funding gap to address.

A new lease between the City and Music Hall Revitalization Co. has yet to be finalized.

According to the City's law department no official documents have been submitted in response to the City's standard lease presented to Music Hall Revitalization Co. leaders in June. They have confirmed the city is in the process of setting up a meeting with legal representatives for both interests and say discussions have been ongoing.

"The delay is tricky because we all have our seasons we're planning and organizing," Cincinnati Ballet's artistic director Victoria Morgan explained.

The Cincinnati Ballet is just one of the companies that calls Music Hall home. While Morgan is not excited about the news of a potential holdup, it did not come as a shock.

"I've heard delay when it comes to a lot of different things and certainly I've heard delay when it comes to Music Hall," Morgan acknowledged.

Morgan says she understands the revitalization project at Music Hall requires dozens of pieces to come together in limited windows of time.

"I personally do want to see it done right and I want to make sure that all the ducks are in a row and you want to make sure that your historic credits are legitimate and you can realize them," she said.

For companies that book shows years in advance, there is an understanding it takes time to produce a quality project.

"I feel like the resolution is getting closer and closer and that's really exciting for us," Morgan said.

She added that she was encouraged by the energy that sprang up in support of the project at City Hall back in June.

"At least the conversation is happening whereas I felt at least in the early stages people just went 'Well OK, never mind,'" Morgan said. "And so I'm excited about it because I feel like there is potential."