$4.9 Million in Tax Credit Financing Secured for New Utah Shakespeare Festival Theater

Utah Business, 29 September 2014

Cedar City –U.S. Bank and the Community Development Finance Alliance have closed on $4.9 million in tax credit financing that will help build a new playhouse with a retractable roof for the Utah Shakespeare Festival.

U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation (USBCDC), the community development subsidiary of U.S. Bank, invested $4.9 million in equity raised from federal New Markets Tax Credits in the $25.4 million project. The credits were allocated to the Community Development Finance Alliance. Southern Utah University contributed nearly $10.4 million to the project and Iron County added $2 million in grants.

At nearly 64,000 square feet, the new Engelstad Theatre, located at 200 West on the campus of SUU, will be larger, with 900 seats, disabled-accessible entrances and a retractable roof in case of inclement or cold weather.

“Utah Shakespeare Festival enlivens the cultural scene in Cedar City and produces a tremendous economic benefit that is important to the Southern Utah,” said Maria Bustria-Glickman, vice president of USBCDC. “With funding for the arts often difficult to obtain, U.S. Bank is delighted to help fill the financial gap and make this beautiful theatrical dream become a reality.”

The Adams Shakespearean Theatre, where the festival has been held each June to October since 1977, is known as one of the most faithful recreations of the open-air Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare’s plays were originally produced. Yet over time, it had become outdated, including lacking public restrooms.

As part of the Beverley Taylor Sorenson Center for the Arts, the new playhouse will enable the center to put on performances year-round and is expected to boost attendance by 25 percent, bringing an estimated 30,000 additional theater-goers to Cedar City annually. The festival generates an estimated $35 million annually in sales and tax revenues. The new theater is projected to add $8 million in economic benefit to the region.

“Working with U.S. Bank pushed us past that last hurdle to making this project come to life,” said Jessica Norie, president of Community Development Finance Alliance. “The jobs this project will create and the boost to the area’s economy are important to provide stability for new and existing employees and their families.”

The project is expected to create 33 permanent jobs with access to state benefits, 410 seasonal positions and 250 construction jobs. The general contractor is Big-D Construction of Salt Lake City and the architect is Blalock & Partners Architectural Design Studio of Salt Lake City. Construction is scheduled to be complete in December 2015.