Charlotte, N.C., (Oct. 1, 2014) – A group that has been in existence for more than 65 years can hardly be considered a teen. But 66-year-old Opera Carolina is making a move that is a rite of passage for most teenagers. After years of renting space, the company is getting a place of its own. The 4,300-square-foot historic home at 1600 Elizabeth Ave. will be the Opera’s new headquarters. The home offers three floors of administrative and social gathering space in the close-in, historic Elizabeth neighborhood. The company made the move in late September from its current space in the Two Wells Fargo Center.
James Meena, general director and principal conductor for Opera Carolina, says the move – and the building purchase – signal Opera Carolina’s financial strength and stability. “Throughout our amazing legacy of service, the Opera has rented office space,” he said. “We strongly felt it was time to invest in property that would not only serve our needs, but would enhance our financial stability – both now and in the future.”
“It’s important for the community and patrons to know that Opera Carolina is in a strong financial position,” said Rob Engel, co-chair of Opera Carolina’s board. “Moving to a building the group owns solidifies that position even more.”
The Board of Directors in early 2014 empowered a Facilities Task Force that met with Opera Carolina staff to discuss the short- and long-term facility needs of the company. With the support of Opera Carolina patron Martin Welton and his company, Park Commercial Real Estate, the company found what Meena calls “an amazing historic home on Elizabeth Ave.”
Not only does the new space offer 25 percent more square footage than the company had in its rented headquarters, but the space also offers the ability to hold social functions, Board and committee meetings, Opera Guild events, and intimate performances. The Board is currently reviewing options to maximize the use of the building and create a sense of community and permanence for Opera Carolina.
Martin Welton and Park Commercial Real Estate brokered the transaction. Opera Carolina patron Moses Luski, partner with Shumaker Loop & Kendrick, provided legal counsel pro bono.
An open house to celebrate the new space is planned for November 1 and 2, and is open to the public. The public and media are invited for both dates. More information will be available at operacarolina.org/events in October.
About the 2014/15 Opera Season
Opera Carolina opens its mainstage season with a new production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Nabucco on October 18, 23, and 26. Opera Carolina’s seven-year Puccini cycle continues with Turandot on Jan. 24 and 29 and Feb. 1, 2015.
The season ends with Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor on April 11, 16 and 19, 2015 and features three of the opera world’s most exciting rising stars: Hyung Yun, Metropolitan Opera baritone; soprano Kathryn Lewek; and tenor Zach Borichevsky.
About Opera Carolina
Founded in 1948 as the Charlotte Opera Association by a small group of volunteers, today Opera Carolina is the largest professional opera company in the Carolinas with an operating budget of more than $2.9 million for the fiscal year 2014. The mission of Opera Carolina is to inspire the region’s diverse community through the presentation of Opera, Operetta and Education and Outreach programs that elevate the quality of life in the Carolinas. Opera Carolina has a commitment to artistic excellence and community service.