Field Hall aims to close $8 million gap

Executive director says facility is boosting economy

PORT ANGELES — Field Arts and Events Hall, a downtown theater and conference venue, has made great strides in its first six months of operations, its executive director told the Port Angeles City Council.

But it still has an $8 million gap to close in its $56 million cost, Steve Raider-Ginsburg said Tuesday night.

“Although the building is built, we were really pinched in the effects of COVID, which shut down construction,” Raider-Ginsburg said. “Gov. Inslee actually shut down construction, and it was just too much of a risk to shut down and start up and shut down and start up, a huge escalation and de-escalation of that.”

In the last 45 percent of the build, costs escalated by 68 percent due to supply chain issues and inflation, he said.

“Now we’re done building, and the line of credit is in 100-year highs of interest rates,” Raider-Ginsburg said. “The fun continues for us to close the capital campaign.”

However, there have been many milestones since the venue opened July 27, and additional data suggest it is boosting economic activity, according to Raider-Ginsburg.

“I can tell by the comments that we’re getting and the numbers that we have that we are already in the beginning of a really big success story for the City of Port Angeles,” he said. “I think we should all be collectively proud.”

Field Hall held 26 ticketed events last year a total audience of 12,143 people and made $393,871.50 in net tickets sales and fees for 2023 shows. Some of the fees go to support the building and the ticketing software and credit card fees, Raider-Ginsburg said.

It also made $80,000 in total revenue from its cafe, with pre- and post-performance opportunities. In addition, the venue hosted 41 free events and seven performances with tickets at $15 or less.

There were 2,804 complimentary tickets to shows to organizations such as the North Olympic Library Center, Port Angeles and Sequim high schools, the Port Angeles Senior Center, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, and for businesses such as Port Angeles Hardwood, which donated $80,000 in wood when Field Hall was just getting started, Raider-Ginsburg said.

A single person per event also spends $31.47 in refreshments, gifts or souvenirs, ground transportation, clothing, accessories or overnight lodging, he said.

“We do see Field Hall as making good on the promise to spark economic activity,” Raider-Ginsburg said. “With those numbers of people and those numbers spent, you can see an amplifier throughout our area.

“We also have a saying, ‘Field Hall for all.’ We are committed to really breaking down any barriers to getting people into Field Hall and to enjoy the asset that is now within the city.”

Raider-Ginsburg said the private nonprofit organization is targeting audiences in Clallam, Jefferson, Island, Kitsap, San Juan, King and Pierce counties, plus Vancouver, Wash., Portland, Ore., San Francisco and Los Angeles.

It also will use city lodging tax dollars to attend four events to increase tourism in the first four months of this year, including the Unveiled Bridal Show in Minneapolis and Seattle Bridal Show later this month, a Cascadia meeting planners international in March, and a Northwest Meetings and Events show for corporate planners in April.

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Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-417-3531 or by email at brian.mclean@peninsuladailynews.com.

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