Hyannis, MA — A year-round performing arts center is planned for a 40-acre site near the West End Rotary in downtown Hyannis, the latest step in more than two decades of efforts to bring such a facility to the Cape.
Oceanside Performing Arts Center announced Wednesday it has signed a purchase-and-sale agreement for a parcel adjacent to the Resort and Conference Center at Hyannis. The property is the site of Twin Brooks Golf Course, an 18-hole, par 3 public course, and will continue to operate as such until the center is built, said Margaret Van Sciver, president of the Oceanside board of directors.
The property, as well as the resort and conference center, is owned by the Boca Raton, Florida-based Finch Group.
“Cape Cod does not have a state-of-the art performing arts center, and there’s an unfilled need,” Van Sciver said. “That’s our vision.”
She said it was premature to discuss the design and capacity of the planned venue or a possible grand opening date. She noted, however, that in addition to an indoor concert hall, there would be a landscaped outdoor space for concertgoers during warm weather. The golf course property is surrounded by residential neighborhoods.
“We wanted to share this news early, as we move from conceptual to more concrete plans,” Van Sciver said. “In the weeks and months ahead, we will meet with residents, businesses, town officials and arts organizations. We will incorporate their feedback in our plans, because the performing arts center is for them.”
The Cape Symphony, which currently performs at the 1,400-seat Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center just up the road on West Main Street, already has committed to making the new center its permanent home.
When the symphony is not performing at the center, the facility will host well-known pop, country, folk and comedy artists, Van Sciver said. The venue also would be offered as a performance space, at a discount to make it affordable, for local nonprofit arts organizations, she said.
“I’m so happy for them. We are very supportive of this initiative,” said Julie Wake, executive director of the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod. “This is a great opportunity for year-rounders as well as visitors. The arts community knows that Cape Cod is a hot spot for arts and culture, and it’s a natural evolution that we would have a state-of-the-art facility such as Oceanside.”
The Hyannis location for the new center was selected because of its proximity to the downtown area and the Hyannis Arts District, according to Van Sciver.
“We looked at locations from Mashpee to Yarmouth and gave serious consideration to many locations,” she said. “We really felt this site in Hyannis was ideal.”
Easy accessibility and pedestrian friendliness were also factors in choosing the location, she added.
“We were hopeful that once they identified a location, it would be in Barnstable,” said Barnstable Town Manager Mark Ells. “This will be a wonderful addition to Hyannis, and we look forward to working with them. This is exactly what we need. I hope all proceeds as planned."
The site eyed for the new center is directly across the street from the Cape Cod Melody Tent, a 66-year-old 2,300-seat summer theater.
Van Sciver said the two organizations have a “great relationship” and she could envision working together to possibly promote a “Mid-Cape Theater District.”
When contacted Wednesday, a spokeswoman for South Shore Playhouse Associates, operator of the Melody Tent, said she was unaware of the plans to locate a performing arts center at the nearby golf course location.
Oceanside Performing Arts Center, a nonprofit organization led by Cape Cod civic leaders committed to the arts, was incorporated in 2012 to establish a regional facility to showcase entertainment, arts and educational offerings.
The 19-member board of directors includes Paul Niedzwiecki, executive director of the Cape Cod Commission, and Jung-Ho Pak, artistic director and conductor of the Cape Symphony.
Proposals for a performing arts center on Cape Cod have been discussed for nearly 25 years, most notably a 15-year effort to build the Boch Center for the Performing Arts in Mashpee, and later West Barnstable. Plans for the center, to be named after the well-known late Boston-area car dealership owner, were scrapped in 2006.
The property will need to receive town approval to be subdivided prior to the sale closing.
Van Sciver declined to disclose additional details, including the purchase price, about the pending real estate transaction.
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