Traverse City Record-Eagle

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November 20, 2012

Traverse City eliminates opera house's rent

TRAVERSE CITY — The city commission voted to eliminate about $38,000 in annual rents and property taxes paid by the non-profit that operates the Traverse City Opera House.

The change will streamline the governance structure and renew the non-profit City Opera House Heritage Association's 56-year lease on the downtown entertainment venue. The association created a for-profit company about seven years ago to qualify for $1.4 million in historic preservation tax credits, part of a $6.7 million renovation of the building, city officials said. The tax credits have expired, allowing the city to return management directly to the non-profit and slash its rent from $18,000 a year to $1. The change also removes the opera house from the tax rolls, saving it another $20,000 a year that was captured by the city's Downtown Development Authority.

Commissioner Mike Gillman was the lone no vote, objecting to the length of the lease.

Association officials said the savings will help keep ticket prices low and aid in overall programming.

"It will help us bring more of the productions and events the hall was intended for," said Page Graves, the association's cochairman.

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