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French arts facility steaming ahead in 2017

Sudbury cultural arts proponents have grand plan for community gatherings
Conceptual Drawing for Place des Arts

Another one of Sudbury's large projects is closer to their goal thanks to two major announcements in December.

Place des Arts received a commitment of $5 million towards the project from the Greater Sudbury city council and $150,700 from FedNor to support their development.

The $30-million shared arts facility would house seven different francophone businesses, and they estimate it would draw 50,000 people downtown each year, and house 60 regular staff.

The Place des Arts board is hoping the $5 million from the city will help leverage funding from other sources, including major donors, from whom they hope to raise $2.6 million by April 2018.

“We already started this fall, but since we didn't have the approval it was kind of awkward to submit to major donor proposals,” said director of development Paulette Gagnon. “Now we can go full steam ahead with the major donor campaign.”

The project’s drivers hope to have shovels in the ground by summer 2018 with doors open in spring 2020.

Alongside their funding proposals, Place des Arts had a promising member campaign. 

In November, they targeted the seven member organizations with a goal of raising $325,000, around 10 per cent of their total budget.

When they tallied up their results before city council's decision on Dec. 16, they had raised $339,000. They will continue the campaign into the new year with a new goal of $400,000. 

The proposed 60,000 square-foot building would include a bar and restaurant with a capacity of 100, two theatres of 300 and 150 seats, with administrative spaces, studios, a boutique, and even a francophone daycare. 

A Laurentian University commerce graduate is working on a business plan for the boutique with more specific plans to be unveiled in the next year.

Gagnon said it would fill a gap in the community as a “niche market geared towards culture projects.”

“When the city asked for major projects, we sat down together…prepared a big matrix comparing the projects in over 100 aspects so that we could show to the city that even though these projects may seem similar, they're specialized to answer different needs in the community.”