Aug 5 2011

Additional Agreement with Arts Center for 801 Magnolia

Council approves Art Center use of a portion of East Wing

At its August 1 meeting, the City Council approved an additional Use Agreement at 801 Magnolia Avenue, which will allow the Piedmont Center for the Arts to construct and use public restroom facilities in the area known as the Education Wing or East Wing.

The new use agreement is supplementary to the lease approved on May 2 and will allow the Arts Center “. . . to construct all of the required facilities in the south-east corner of Area C…a disabled-access lift to overcome the 4 steps up to this area, a new fire-rated wall, exit doors as the building code requires to create a public corridor to the public restrooms… exit signs, alarm systems, and emergency lighting . . . ”   Webcor Builders will be constructing the new improvements at a reduced fee.  The lift, potentially a $30,000 expense, will provide ADA access for the entire East Wing, as well as the restrooms.

Restrooms will no longer be constructed adjacent to the theater in the Art Center’s portion of the 801 Magnolia building, as originally planned.  Placement of the restrooms in the Arts Center’s portion of the building presented challenges due to Building Code requirements and disabled access to the restrooms within space constraints.  Construction of all required restrooms in the East Wing will make increased office space available to the Arts Center and its sub-tenants, while reducing the primary East Wing room to under 1200 square feet out of the original 1950 square foot wing.  (See Existing and New Plans.)

East Wing – Existing Layout

(wtih Entry Gallery and Outdoor Patio – common area between the 2 Wings)

East Wing – New Restrooms & Dividing Wall

The Art Center’s original May 2 lease was for the approximately 2800 square foot main sanctuary building (the west wing of the facility).  The new Use Agreement provides the Arts Center with the right to ” . . . use the new public restroom facilities for the intended operation of its activities within the leased premises as defined by the Lease Agreement”.  It is not a lease of the East Wing space. 

At the August 1 City Council meeting, several Council members emphasized their desire for community input on the future use of the East Wing, a “rare new public space” for Piedmont.  The City Administrator, citing Municipal Tax Review Committee discussions, suggested a need for any new use to “generate revenues” for the City.   Council Member Fujioka pointed out that many potential new uses could charge user fees to cover their costs and that this could be part of the discussion. 

The Council declined to allocate $75,000 from the Capital Improvement Program for the East Wing until a use has been determined and specifics on the expenditures of these monies can be provided by staff.  The possibility that the new user of the East Wing might offer improvements such as carpeting, paint and furniture at no cost to the City was also mentioned.

The building has been vacant and in decay for years, making the recent painting and improvements provided by the volunteers of the Arts Center a welcome sight.  New windows, paint, roof, structural improvements, a lift and restrooms will make the building useful once more.  The Arts Center anticipates opening in September and has event bookings lined up.  Although the Piedmont Choirs will not be renting the Art Center office space, as initially envisioned, there are ongoing talks with the Piedmont Educational Foundation for use of the space.

Individuals from the Arts Center have expressed interest in a compatible use for the East Wing.  Suggestions in the community for complimentary uses have included a literary center, senior center, reading room, adult program venue, or similar concepts.  The space is currently used as overflow City storage for planning models, brochures, assessment records, and old newspapers.

Being located in the heart of Piedmont, the space has many possibilities.  With no direct entrance into the East Wing from Magnolia Avenue, users will need to come through the front entrance of the Arts Center into a common hallway, or come from the Bonita Avenue side entrance into the common hallway where disabled access is provided.

East Wing – Currently Used for Storage


West Wing – The Arts Center


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