NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the four months since the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center opened, theater-goers have purchased tickets to see a one-woman comedic play, a show about favorite native son Paul Robeson, a rousing rendition of "The Nutcracker" and other performances.
No one, however, has bought the naming rights.
Merissa Buczny, the executive director at NBPAC and vice president at DEVCO, said that might be changing soon.
She said there are ongoing negotiations to sell the naming rights to the arts portion of the building that includes the Elizabeth Ross Johnson and Arthur Laurents theaters as well as the rehearsal spaces.(Besides the 70,000 square feet of creative space, there are 20 floors housing 205 multifamily units.)
Buczny said that revenue generated from selling the naming rights would help to benefit the four tenants: the George Street Playhouse, Crossroads Theatre Company, the American Repertory Ballet and the Rutgers University Mason Gross School of the Arts.
"We're in negotiations with several (interested parties)," she said. "It's exciting. It's exciting because it helps us do what we need to do which is manage and operate this performing arts facility so that the member companies are able to put on their art and not worry about the overhead of paying rent and paying the typical cost that they would if they were property owners themselves or renters themselves. So our member companies really get the benefit of the fact that New Brunswick Performing Arts Center provides the space, operates the space, keeps the lights on and they don't have to worry about that. They can just do the art."
When asked if the price tag would be in excess of six figures, Buczny said, "At least."
As a matter of fact, DEVCO President Chris Paladino said back when the building opened in September that the sale of the naming rights could generate at least $1 million in revenue.
The $172 million New Brunswick Performing Arts Center opened Sept. 4 with a gala event that featured champagne toasts, speeches and, of course, performances. The evening reached a crescendo when Paladino and New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill rose through the stage and strode out to the theme from "Rocky."
The NBPAC is just yards away from the Heldrich Hotel, which DEVCO also built. The New Brunswick Development Corporation, or DEVCO, is a private nonprofit urban real estate development company founded in the mid-1970s to serve as a catalyst for the city's revitalization.
Buczny said the signage on the facade of the building will recognize whoever buys the naming rights.
"We would have lots of different options for branding," she said. "We have those beautiful video boards as well which make life a lot easier when you want to share a message and you want to share different messages. We have the really large video board that's above the front door and we have the one that's on the ground floor level. There's lots of options for dynamic signage and visuals throughout the space."