Financial hurdles need to be overcome for a planned performing arts center in the city of Frisco.

Frisco staff presented survey findings at a Frisco City Council work session May 17 that included cost estimates and a space analysis of the facility.

Early agreements among Frisco ISD, the city of Frisco and Hall Park specified a $67 million performing arts center at Hall Park that would include a 1,250- to 1,500-seat performance hall and an additional community theater with a minimum of 250 seats. The school district designated $43 million for the project from a 2018 bond. The remaining funds would come in the form of $14 million from the city and $10 million from Hall Group founder Craig Hall. Additional funds toward the project also stemmed from private fundraising efforts.

In a presentation to the FISD board of trustees earlier this month, Joe Haver, principal and commercial co-sector leader at Corgan, which was selected as the project architect in February, said more than 93% of all material costs have experienced a change in the past 12 months.

Increases have occurred in 71% of equipment prices and 98% of labor wages, Haver’s presentation stated. Additionally, 71% of construction material costs have increased with some prices increasing more than 50% since 2021.

The presentation outlined cost estimates for three different seat counts at the performance hall. Based on cost increases, a 1,250-seat venue would cost between $135.7 million-$151.1 million. A 1,500-seat venue would cost between $146.1 million-$158.2 million, and a 1,750-seat venue would cost up to $181.1 million.

Cost estimates for each of the seat capacities include a community theater seat count of 400.

At its work session, council wanted to examine what it would take to build a 1,500-seat performance venue with the ability to expand that space to 1,700 seats in the future.

Staff noted that 1,250 seats in the performance hall would not attract even smaller Broadway shows, such as “Waitress” or other commercial performances. The option of 1,500 seats was expected to do this, however.

The cost estimate difference between 1,250 seats and 1,500 seats was about $10 million, which the city’s partner Hall Park had pledged to the project, Mayor Jeff Cheney said. The mayor said 1,500 seats would be the minimum needed for the project to be a commercial success for Hall Park.

“Then to get to the next step, 1,500 [seats] expandable including a private club is another $10 million, and that version is probably the one that you can actually fundraise and sell sponsorships for and a vision for. So it sounds to me in the long run, ... that would actually be the cheapest of the three options,” Cheney said.

He acknowledged, however, that coming up with the additional funds to meet that goal for the larger performance hall and expandable option still needs to be determined, and staff agreed.

“We have to look and see what those options are in terms of this,” Deputy City Manager Ron Patterson said.

Patterson suggested the next steps would be to meet with the school district and Craig Hall of Hall Park to “get everybody on the same page.” Once a facility size that can work for everyone is decided, the next step would be to examine how to finance that facility, as well as looking at the cost to operate it, he said.

“I think it's important to realize that we're still early on in the design phase,” Council Member Bill Woodard said. “We're not building anything yet, we're still trying to figure out, ‘What's it going to look like? How's it going to be laid out?’ And how to finance it.”

Brooklynn Cooper contributed to this report.