Lawrenceville City Council approved a $31 million arts complex expansion project.
Photo: City of Lawrenceville
Photo: City of Lawrenceville

Lawrenceville approves $31M downtown arts center project

Lawrenceville City Council approved a $31 million project to expand the downtown arts complex anchored by Aurora Theatre at its Monday meeting.

The project will include a 500-seat theater, educational space and a small cabaret theater in addition to office space and room for future development in the city’s downtown, according to a city release. The expansion will facilitate a partnership with Georgia Gwinnett College’s Cinema and Media Arts program and bring more students downtown, part of Lawrenceville’s goal to be the “college town of tomorrow,” as stated in its 2040 comprehensive plan.

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The city plans to pay for the entire project up front and have “the city’s arts and education partners,” including Georgia Gwinnett College and the Aurora Theatre, recoup half of the cost. Arts organizations will make these payments through capital campaign funds and educational partners will make the payments through rent. Future payments from Georgia Gwinnett College are pending approval from the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.

The new project has been dubbed the Lawrenceville Performing Arts Center, and include Aurora Theatre’s existing space. Aurora Theatre will manage and operate the space through a contract with the city, including programming, according to the city release.

The new arts complex will be across from the Historic Gwinnett County Courthouse, sitting on the block surrounded by Pike, Clayton and Crogan streets. The project’s aesthetics are intended to be cohesive with downtown Lawrenceville’s historic architecture while blending in modern aspects, the city said.

“Staff is diligently working to ensure that this facility honors the progressive vision of the Council while still contributing to the historic significance and aesthetic appeal of the Square,” said City Manager Chuck Warbington in the release. “We have heard the public comments and desires of our community and look forward to delivering a product that all residents and patrons to our downtown can be proud of and enjoy.”

Construction is expected to begin within the next four months, and the facility could be complete by mid-2020, the city said.

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