Mayor Sandy Stimpson late Thursday afternoon released a proposed timeline that would lead to the closure of the Civic Center on April 24, 2016.
The administration will begin to seek interest from developers and investors, as early as this spring, city spokesman George Talbot said, in hopes of securing a public-private partnership for the space. He added that there would most likely be public interest to include a performing arts center into any future plan.
“You’re basically looking for ideas,” Talbot said of the first step in the proposed timeline. “It will have to accommodate current (Civic Center) users, like Mobile Opera, or Mobile Ballet.”
As far as whether this means the building can be reused, or if only the property will be used for an entirely new building, “everything is on the table,” Talbot said.
The proposed timeline for closure also includes community conversations. Talbot confirmed that when the city receives more information on possible future uses for the building or property, it would hold town-hall-style meetings to discuss the proposals.
“It’ll be a public process because it’s the people’s building,” Talbot said.
The timeline has the issuing of a more specific request for proposals set for sometime in the summer, or fall of this year and the awarding of a contract set for winter, or spring of next year.
Stimpson told carnival societies weeks ago that they would have to make alternate arrangements to hold their Mardi Gras balls after this year’s festivities.
In a statement released Thursday, Stimpson wrote that the city is losing about $2 million a year and it would cost $20 million to bring it into complaince with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“It is my opinion that the city cannot afford to continue to prolong the inevitable redevelopment of this complex – redevelopment through a strong public-private partnership,” Stimpson wrote. “Such a partnership will limit the cost burden to the city, while realizing the benefit of limitless possibilities that could emerge on the site.”