Dear Friends of the Cincinnati Symphony and Pops Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera, Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati May Festival:
After months of thoughtful negotiations, we are pleased to announce that the Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC) and the City of Cincinnati, which owns Music Hall, have agreed to a 75-year lease of the building. The agreement makes it possible for the planning of this critically important restoration and improvement project to move forward. We are grateful to MHRC Board President Otto M. Budig, Jr. for his exceptional volunteer leadership, and to the volunteers and donors serving on the MHRC Board. We are also immensely grateful for the leadership of Mayor Mark Mallory, and the City administration. The City’s commitment to this iconic landmark and support for the project are helping to ensure Music Hall’s future, and the forging of this private-public partnership is a significant moment in the building’s history.
We are also grateful for the City’s commitment of $10 million toward the project, as proposed by the Mayor and voted by City Council this summer, and the millions of dollars already pledged by private donors. With the passing of some previous funding application deadlines, MHRC is now revisiting the overall financing strategy, and along with the cultural institutions that call Music Hall home, has been reevaluating the primary goals of the project. The result is an evolving plan with a reduced scope that addresses the building’s pressing needs and remains focused on the audience experience, as informed by many passionate and committed advocates for Music Hall including patrons like you. As we’ve previously reported, restrooms will be expanded. Seating will be made more comfortable. Accessibility will be greatly improved. The existing chandeliers will be sparkling. Any structural issues will be addressed. We’re also pleased to announce that after quite a bit of community feedback over this past year, one of the changes from the previous plan is the installation of new escalators that will be better positioned to improve safety. This is in addition to new elevators, which remain an important part of the accessibility improvements. The historic character of the building will shine through, and Music Hall will continue to dazzle people for generations to come, hosting great performances and a diverse array of community events in a revitalized Over-the-Rhine neighborhood.
There will be more to share in the coming months, but we want to be clear that there is not currently a construction timetable. All of our performances which are usually held at Music Hall will continue to take place at Music Hall. Once the new funding strategy has been finalized and a construction timetable is set by MHRC, we will let you know about any displacement of performances and temporary alternative venues well in advance.
For all of us who treasure Music Hall, this is an important day. Thank you for your continued support, and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!
Patty Beggs, Trey Devey, Missie Santomo and Steven Sunderman