City and Music Hall companies at standstill over Music Hall - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Music Hall renovation negotiations at standstill

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OVER THE RHINE, OH (FOX19) -

One of Cincinnati's most iconic buildings is going to get a multi-million dollar facelift. However, the final details have yet to be worked out.

The City of Cincinnati and the companies that use the facility appear to be at a standstill over Cincinnati Music Hall.

Companies like the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra would like to purchase the building entirely, and handle operations and maintenance. However, Mayor Mark Mallory and city officials want to keep Music Hall as a municipal property, which it's been for over 11 years.

The facility was built just 12 years after the American Civil War, and the Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC) President and Chairman Otto M. Budig Jr. hopes to preserve it for future generations.

A deadline of June 2014 to begin renovations was set by the city, and now serves as one of the stumbling blocks in the negotiations.

"We simply can't do that, and the worst thing we can do would be to start the process, not complete the project. Music Hall would be in ruin, and we'd all suffer from it," said Budig.   

The MHRC wants to raise most of money first and then move forward. The building which houses the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Ballet and Opera, hasn't had a major facelift since the 1970's.

Buying the building outright was not an option, and according to Budig, a short-term lease would hurt fundraising efforts.

"Folks would be resistant to providing contributions recognizing that if it were not in our hands, it might go for other purposes, said Budig.

Renovation plans for Cincinnati Music Hall include expanding the stage, making wider seats and adding more aisles.

The Cincinnati Planning Commission was scheduled to vote on the renovation plans Friday, however, the meeting was delayed until after Budig and Mayor Mark Mallory meet next week.

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