Council mulls partnership for Tateuchi Center funding

This artist rendering shows what the Tateuchi Center is planned to look like in downtown Bellevue. - Courtesy Photo
This artist rendering shows what the Tateuchi Center is planned to look like in downtown Bellevue.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Bellevue councilmembers agree the city is in need of a performing arts center, but are hesitant to commit to a public-private partnership to erect the Tateuchi Center downtown until more due diligence is done.

The 175,000-square-foot performing arts center, proposed to be constructed at the corner of Northeast 10th Street and 106th Avenue Northeast, is funded at $65 million to date. That's far shy of its $160 million goal. The largest contribution came from the Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, for which the center is now named.

City councilmembers heard another appeal for a public funding partnership from Performing Arts Center Eastside Executive Director John Haynes on Monday night( Jan. 27), as well as from resident advocates for the center's construction.

"Tateuchi Center will bring the world's greatest performing artists to downtown Bellevue," said Haynes. "… Everything about Tateuchi Center is like Bellevue — first class, but not over-the-top."

The performing arts center started as a solely private venture by PACE, but the recession in 2008 caused a huge hit to fundraising efforts. Haynes told the Reporter the design is complete, permits are issued, but funding is the final impediment to construction.

There was no discussion Monday about how substantial a monetary commitment PACE is requesting for the Tateuchi Center, and the City Council will be provided with a more thorough report at its next meeting.

Councilmembers said they support a performing arts center in Bellevue, but need to know what they're legally allowed to contribute by way of public funding, how a public-private partnership would work and what assurances they would have that the center will be completed.

"I think it's a regional project that would provide a regional benefit," said Councilmember Jennifer Robertson. "… Because it's a regional project, it's going to be a partnership with the region and the private partners."

Deputy Mayor Kevin Wallace said all of the city's revenue streams have been allocated for other purposes,

meaning the city would need to find another funding source should it get involved. He added he would want to know all other financing for the center was secure beforehand.

"I think there are a lot of questions that are yet unanswered and need to be answered before we would make a financial contribution and move forward."


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