GREENSBORO, NC -- Plans to make the $60-million Greensboro Performing Arts Center (GPAC) a reality are moving forward, and according to Mayor Robbie Perkins, they are coming along better than expected.
In fact, city leaders are close to pinning down an exact location for the project.
For months now the focus had been on the YWCA on Davie Street in downtown Greensboro.
It cost taxpayers $2-million to buy the property and tear down the old building.
Mayor Robbie Perkins agrees that would have been a cheaper move but says "cheap is not always the best." Perkins says the location the city council is now considering - is more "strategic" and will be a "game-changer."
"If we put this puzzle together properly, we'll have a unique venue and unique atmosphere around that venue. That would be very exciting for all of our citizens," he said in an interview with WFMY News 2.
A source close to the discussions explains the city council was approached by the Community Foundation to buy property between Summit Avenue, and Elm and Lindsay Streets.
The location was one of two the council looked at before the GPAC task force recommended the YWCA site.
The mayor says whatever money the city uses to purchase the proposed new land will come from the $60 million budget for GPAC.
The foundation is working to raise in excess of $20 million of that in private donations.
The city council has also pledged $20-million in public funds - using a combination of parking revenue and tax on event tickets.
In addition to that, the city manager will meet with county commissioners next week to request approval for the city to use hotel-motel taxes to fund GPAC.
The mayor says the entire plan for GPAC is coming along better than expected.
Read: City Votes To Give $20 Million To GPAC Project
Read: Private Donations Increase Chances Of GPAC Reality
But, you might recall, back in February, a study concluded the proposed performing arts center would lose more than $350,000 the first two years of operation and then make only $22 thousand dollars in profits the third year.
Mayor Perkins says it's about the long-term investment. "You cannot be the third largest city in the state if you don't have a first class performing arts venue," he explained. "This is my conviction as mayor and as Robbie Perkins. We have to do this project and it needs to be in our downtown in order for Greensboro to continue to flourish from an economic development standpoint."
Mayor Perkins expects the performing arts center to be up and running by summer or fall of 2016.
The proposal calls for about 3,000 seats.
It's expecting to bring in more than $7 million a year, create 260 jobs and feature about 160 performances annually.