Hill Center Reveals Business Plan – 25% of Operating Revenue To Come from Special Events
by Larry Janezich
Saturday afternoon, a dozen Hill Center (HC) neighbors met with Hill Center officials in the first of a series of meetings designed to open up a dialogue with the community regarding HC operations. Among the neighbors present were well-known Hill residents Barbara Eck, Paul Malvey, and Jill Lawrence. Diana Ingraham, Executive Director, and Catherine Smith, Director of Special Events, represented HC.
Saying “we want Hill Center to be the heartbeat of the community,” Ingraham went on to acknowledge that Hill Center has been criticized for not releasing its business plan. She then revealed that plan to the group.
The annual operating budget is $750,000. There are four revenue streams to account for that.
Rental of the carriage house (about $50,000 annually) to a café vendor and rental of office space (about $62,000 annually) to non-profit organizations together will account for 15% ($112,500) . Among the organizations seeking office space in HC are ANC6b, Capitol Hill Village, and the Capitol Hill Restoration Society.
Third party program providers who will rent additional space to expand their programming will provide 60% of the funding ($450,000). These will include organizations like CHAW and the Folger, as well as other independent operators offering classes in the arts and technology, or physical training classes such as yoga. No contracts have been signed yet; that must wait for HC to obtain a certificate of occupancy.
Rental of space for special events will account for the remaining 25% ($187,500) – about $15,000 a month. A conference room can be rented for half a weekday for $350, but the largest spaces, such as the entire second floor will cost $1500 for half a weekday and $5000 for a full day and evening on weekends. The garden will rent for $500 for half a weekday and $1250 for a full day on weekends.
Hill Center representatives distributed a list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding Special Events, recently posted on Hill Center’s website. The document gave the clearest picture yet about how HC intends to operate under the limitations they agreed to in the voluntary agreement negotiated with ANC6b during the liquor licensing process.
When compared against the voluntary operational agreement, the FAQ sheet shows special events will be limited to 250 participants inside (the entire second floor) and outside (the summer garden). The voluntary agreement had set the limit at 300.
The FAQs document states sale of alcohol in the garden will stop at 8:00pm weekdays and 9:00pm Friday and Saturday – each an hour earlier than in the voluntary agreement
The sale of alcohol inside will cease at 11:00pm daily, down from 1:00am weekdays and 2:00am Friday and Saturday.
Entertainment in the garden will stop at 8:00pm weekdays, and 9:00pm Friday and Saturday – no change from the voluntary agreement.
Entertainment inside will stop at 11:00pm daily, instead of 1:00am on weekdays and 2:00am Friday and Saturday.
Ingraham said HC Neighbors will be invited to participate in decibel level tests, judging from their own homes what is too loud regarding entertainment both inside and outside Hill Center. Ingraham also clarified where the summer garden will be located; it will be on the east side of the building, nearest 10th Street.
Neighbor Paul Malvey led a discussion between the neighbors and HC officials, raising a number of concerns and proposed solutions which neighbors had formulated in a meeting a week earlier. Among these were parking and valet parking, occupancy levels, special event security, loading and unloading, trash, amplification of sound in the garden, and communication with neighbors. Elliott noted each of the specific concerns and proposed solution.
At meeting’s end, Barbara Eck commented that she had been working to save Old Naval Hospital long before the idea for a hill center had been broached and had been a strong supporter and advocate for Hill Center since then. But, she said, much of the neighbors’ good will had been lost when they were “blindsided” by the terms of the liquor license (see emmcablog, June 1). She said that the voluntary agreement negotiated with the ANC needs improvement and “we want it in writing.” Eck went on to say petitions are being circulated “to let HC know it’s not what people are saying on the blogs – that we’re just NIMBYs. There’s widespread feeling on this and we want Hill Center to know lots of people want something better. “
Other neighbors stressed that the purpose of the letter of protest the group will file with the Alcohol Beverage Review Board (ABRA) prior to the July 18 hearing on HC’s application for a liquor license is to give them legal standing to negotiate a new voluntary agreement. The neighbors hope to negotiate the new agreement before the ABRA hearing.
The neighbors will meet the first week of July to finalize the details of what they would like the new voluntary agreement to contain and then seek a meeting with Hill Center’s Board of Directors to negotiate the terms of that agreement. Neighbors will also meet again with HC officials in a month as part of an on-going dialogue between the Center and the community.