Seattle Opera Hits Milestones With New Seattle Center Building
In time for the New Year, Seattle Opera announced today that it has raised the highest steel beam, topping out its new $60 million civic home at Seattle Center. The four-story, 105,000 sq. ft. building will be a new arts anchor for the northeast corner of the Seattle Center campus.
More than 250 Seattle Opera donors, subscribers, and employees joined community members and construction workers as the top steel beam was signed and hoisted up into place, accompanied by Brünnhilde's horse Grane from Seattle Opera's 1995 Ring and a recording of Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries."
Designed to showcase the making of art, the architecture of the new building includes large windows along Speight Jenkins Way (Fourth Avenue North) and Mercer Street so that passersby can see into the costume shop and community spaces as well as watch the technical and artistic aspects of putting together a show.
The new building will have rehearsal space for artists and teachers, and space for apprentice programs where young people can learn skills such as rigging, lighting, and arts management.
Seattle Opera will consolidate its operations in the new space, adjacent to Marion Oliver McCaw Hall. The company currently rents rehearsal, operations, and administrative space in South Lake Union, and transports sets to and from McCaw Hall. The new building will connect to the McCaw Hall stage, limiting the need for trucks.
The city of Seattle owns the site, and Seattle Opera has a long-term ground lease. Most of the funding for the project-87 percent-has been raised to date with a mix of private and public funding.
"We are very fortunate to have a donor community who believes in the vision of opera for all," said Aidan Lang, General Director of Seattle Opera. "This new civic home will enable us to reach more than 80,000 people through our education and community programs on an annual basis. That is more than the number of seats we can sell in McCaw Hall annually."
More than fifty percent of the private fundraising has come from Seattle Opera board members. And, thanks to an anonymous donor, all new and increased gifts will be matched 1:1 until December 31, 2017, up to $3 million. $100,000 is still available as part of this matching grant.
Seattle Opera has $8 million left to raise and is accepting gifts of all sizes, including gifts to name one of the rehearsal spaces in honor of General Director Emeritus Speight Jenkins.
NBBJ is the architect and Lease Crutcher Lewis is general contractor. Shiels Obletz Johnsen is the project manager. The building is slated to open by the end of 2018.
Seattle Opera is a leading opera company, recognized both in the United States and around the world. The company is committed to advancing the cultural life in the Pacific Northwest with performances of the highest caliber, and through innovative education and community programs that take opera far beyond the McCaw Hall stage. Each year, more than 95,000 people attend Seattle Opera performances and the company's programs serve more than 400,000 people of all ages (including school performances, radio broadcasts and community engagement initiatives). Seattle Opera is especially known for its acclaimed works in the Richard Wagner canon, and has created an "international attraction" in its presentation of Wagner's epic Ring, according to The New York Times. Connect with Seattle Opera on Facebook, Twitter, SoundCloud and through Saturday-night broadcasts on Classical KING FM.