Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham, NC

Known as DPAC, the 2,700-seat Durham Performing Art Center opened in 2008. More than 200 events are held there annually, from Broadway productions to concerts to the American Dance Festival. Its presence has fostered economic development and helped revitalize downtown Durham.

The Partners

City of Durham, which owns the center; Duke University; and the theater operators, Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management (PFM)

The Financing

Key funding sources for the $48 million center included $33.7 million in certificates of participation, or private investment bonds that the city will repay with proceeds from a hotel occupancy tax, and $7.5 million grant from Duke University. An operator loan, naming rights and other private sources made up the balance. The operator guaranteed a minimum number of events per year and agreed to absorb any losses for the first five years, after which time operations could be turned over to the city or another contract could be negotiated with the DPAC operators. Nederlander and PFM continue to operate a profitable DPAC.

The Results

Since the sellout of its inaugural concert by BB King, DPAC has exceeded expectations for operations – from attendance to revenue.  In 2016, the theater ranked in the Top 5 of similarly-sized venues for attendance or gross sales in three separate industry publications. The benefits reach far beyond the walls of DPAC. The center is located near the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and American Tobacco Historic District, creating a vibrant scene that has drawn new hotels and restaurants to the area. For the 2015-16 season, the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates DPAC’s economic impact at $109 million.

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