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Lee Summit gets inquiry about purchasing downtown’s Arnold Hall

Updated: 2014-02-11T03:52:09Z

By ELAINE ADAMS

The Kansas City Star

The city of Lee’s Summit has received an inquiry from the private sector about purchasing Arnold Hall, which is on land the city wants to use for its outdoor arts space downtown.

The inquiry involved the possibility of relocating a business to Arnold Hall, the city said in a news release Monday.

The City Council considered the matter in a closed session last week and told the staff to set up a competitive process to allow others to submit proposals for buying and reusing the vacant building.

The property that contains Arnold Hall is at 123 S.E. 3rd St., across from City Hall. Civic leaders have been talking about whether Arnold Hall should be part of the outdoor performance arts venue that voters agreed last year to fund.

If the city ends up selling Arnold Hall, the property would be split into two parcels, the city said. That would allow the building to be sold while the adjacent property is used for the outdoor arts space.

The city will seek development proposals only for the east part of the property, which includes Arnold Hall and the rear parking area to the south.

The remaining land would include the parking area west of Arnold Hall.

The goal is to present the Arnold Hall purchase proposals to the City Council in early April.

Meanwhile, the Lee’s Summit Arts Council, which is playing a significant role in planning the outdoor arts space, has asked that it be allowed to study Arnold Hall, too, “for its possible use with the outdoor performance and festival space.”

The Arts Council has indicated it would would like Arnold Hall to become a “white-box,” or flexible space with a mostly open floor plan to be used for exhibits or small indoor performances.

Because of the new interest in Arnold Hall from the private sector, the city said, the Arts Council’s request is unlikely to be considered by the City Council before mid-April.

To reach Elaine Adams, call 816-234-4732 or send email to eadams@kcstar.com.

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