The Community Arts Council of Prince George (CAC) is undertaking a feasibility study of its proposed new downtown home.
The CAC has been operating at its current complex, known as Studio 2880, at 2880 15th Avenue for more than 40 years. The CAC announced last April that it was teaming up with the Prince George Farmer’s Market to move to a location at Third Avenue and Quebec Street. Both the 1310 Third Avenue and 15th Avenue sites are owned by the City of Prince George.
The CAC revealed its intentions to build and relocate to its new home, at the organization’s semi-annual general meeting held on April 30. The plan is to build an arts-based community centre, also known as a “Creative Hub.”
In 2018, the CAC, with support from the City of Prince George and the Northern Development Initiative Trust, undertook a capital investment analysis review of the Creative Hub site. Through that review, the CAC identified various services and features that would be part of the new facility downtown: a multi-purpose performance space, classrooms, workshops and art-friendly spaces, gallery and exhibit opportunities, community events, short- and long-term rentals, a public marketplace, gift shop, social enterprise café and a ticket box office.
Now, the CAC is planning to proceed with a feasibility study of the site concept as proposed, as well as evaluate the viability of financing and operation models. Although initial cost estimates to complete renovations are in the $11 million to $12 million range, the study will identify the capacity of the community and other funders to provide financial support commensurate with the proposed uses.
“While the proposed new site is a substantial upgrade in terms of location, it falls far short of space and the building will require an extensive addition and renovation to suit the needs of the CAC and the community,” said Linda Rempel, CAC President. “Our goal is to move into the new facility in 2021 and operate this innovative new destination attraction, designed for 21st century creative and cultural activities and programming, all the while playing a significant role in downtown revitalization efforts.”
“We have been working with the City of Prince George and the federal Ministry of Heritage in preparing to do a Feasibility Study on our initial findings, and our expectation is to be ready to report back to our members and stakeholders before the end of 2019,” said Sean Farrell, CAC Executive Director. “Our vision is that this new Creative Hub concept will work to ensure Prince George retains or improves its existing level of cultural activity, which contributes to the local economy, and family, personal and social development, helping to make Prince George a healthy, sustainable, dynamic and exciting place to live.”