Redmond Needs a Cultural Gathering & Performing Arts Center

With a population of 73,000 and growing in Redmond, and another 700,000 in the surrounding Eastside localities, this region has a limited number of dedicated all-season large cultural gathering and performance arts spaces suitable to meet the needs of this culturally diverse, highly educated population.

In 2021, an opportunity to establish an all-season cultural gathering space as the City of Redmond planned for replacement of the Senior Center was lost. Unfortunately, the 2nd floor community space was not funded in the approved scope, despite community support. After this effort failed, the OneRedmond Foundation Board reflected on why and deduced that perhaps the business case for a new cultural gathering space in Redmond had not been effectively made. The Board decided to research planning efforts regarding the creation of a large multi-purpose cultural gathering facility in Redmond to date.

History of Case Development

2010: The City adopts set of policies to encourage the development of arts and cultural facilities.

2013: The 2013 Master Plan for the Downtown Cultural Corridor is developed, which identified dedicated arts and cultural facilities as a top community priority.

2015: the City of Redmond commissioned national management consulting firm AMS Research & Planning Consulting, which works exclusively in the arts and culture sector to undertake a comprehensive 2016 Cultural Facilities Feasibility Study.

Key Takeaways

From the 2016 Cultural Facilities Feasibility Study Gap Analysis

  • Few artists and arts organizations in Redmond due to cost of affordable space. 
  • Redmond has a global marketplace and international constituency that expects and can afford a very high-quality cultural experience and is going elsewhere for it at this time. 
  • Film and contemporary music scene desired. 
  • Few indoor arts-SPECIFIC space. 
  • Non-city arts space sparse and at risk.

Next Steps Requested

The OneRedmond Foundation asks the City of Redmond to refresh the 2015/2016 study with the following considerations to include:

✔️ Impact of COVID-19 pandemic on the arts facility industry for public, public-private and private entities. 

✔️ Economic Impact study of the Center to estimate increased business opportunity for Redmond small businesses as well as increased potential tax revenue opportunities generated. 

✔️ Detailed listing and analysis of current and future supply and demand for cultural center-specific space not only in the City of Redmond, but also of the 22 surrounding Eastside cities and towns. 

✔️ Review of potential facility as a destination once the four Redmond Light Rail stations are operational. 

✔️ Discussion of potential necessity of additional indoor spaces that can accommodate climate change challenges and support citizenry with indoor, air-conditioned space and entertainment for those who need it most. 

✔️ Revisit the needs of existing local arts and entertainment organizations – as many are being displaced by high costs and redevelopment.