A Charleston venue that has a dynamic economic impact on the city is facing renovations. The Gaillard Auditorium was built in 1968 and serves as a major venue for Spoleto USA activities and many other shows throughout the year. Now, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley says it is time to renovate.
“I think further affirmation of the direction the Lowcountry is going in. More cost beneficial to the city, it will create substantial new revenues. It’s a win-win all the way around, we’ve got plenty of money to raise, and this will be a wonderful public-private venture seeking. I know we will get the support from the private sector. It will be something of great pride and benefit to our whole community,” says Riley.
Riley says renovations include: “Give it a world-class appearance inside an acoustically superior performance hall. We’ll add an additional floor in the exhibit hall, so there will be more activities and use for the citizens of our community. It will be a huge boost for our arts groups,” says Riley.
With the renovations, about 1,000 seats will be taken out of the auditorium, but Riley says those seats are not usually filled. The City of Charleston is looking at spending a little more than $100 million on the renovations of the Gaillard, and Riley says they already have a head start.
“We have a very generous citizen that has come forward with a $20 million donation, and then a committment to raise a substantial amount of additional private money. This is an economic devolopment enterprise initiative for us. It will spur economic development, create jobs,” says Riley.
If funds are available, Riley says renovations could begin in two years.