Operations Committee, August 1, 2013


Downtown Cary Theater “The Cary” Building Addition Café (EN14-002)

Consideration of additional funding for “The Cary” café

Speaker:  Mr. Eric Simpson


From:  Tim Bailey, P.E., Director of Engineering

Prepared by:  Eric Simpson, P.E., Engineer

Approved by:  Benjamin T. Shivar, Town Manager

Approved by:  Michael J. Bajorek, Assistant Town Manager


Executive Summary:  The Town has a capital project constructing a new building addition adjoining the Downtown Theater.  The building addition is three stories with support space for the theater and an area on the first floor to support a café. Two options are available for providing concessions:  Option 1, construct the café and Option 2, provide basic event concessions on portable skirted tables. Town Staff has evaluated the project scope and cost estimate and recommends Option 1, the addition of the café and transfer of $150,000 in already-appropriated funds from the DT1000 DT–Available Funds project to the DT1101–Downtown–Chatham Theater project.


Background:  The Town awarded the Downtown Theater construction contract (EN13-014) to DeVere Construction Company, Inc. on October 11, 2012.  The approved award did not include Alternate Bid 3 for the café area casework, plumbing fixtures and food service equipment (see Attachment 1).  Construction of the theater and addition began in December 2012.  A grease trap, rough in plumbing, and the café storage walls have been installed by the contractor as part of the original contract.


Discussion:  Staff has evaluated two options for providing concessions to the facility.  Option 1 is to construct the café as designed in the construction documents as Bid Alternate 3, the café, but not authorized for construction.  Option 2 is to continue construction without the café and to provide basic event concessions on portable tables.


Option 1 – Café Construction

The Theater and Addition construction documents contain plans and specifications for the café and associated equipment generally listed below in this staff report.


The café will create a day time presence attracting patrons to the facility and add regular daytime activity to this portion of East Chatham Street.  The café usage will light up the patio in the evening, creating a sense of additional activity in the Downtown.


The café adds flexibility to the space in the addition.  The services of the café have the ability to provide manageable services for theater patrons for theater events.  During non-event times, the café may adapt to serve as a gathering place in the Downtown.

An advantage of finishing the café is that it provides for the possibility of securing a contracted concessionaire in the near future.  Staff continues to seek a contracted concessionaire for the café and believes that moving forward with the café up-fit is more marketable to secure a vendor.


DeVere Construction Company provided an estimate below the original Bid Alternate 3, the café, price to construct the café.  The additional work includes: a counter with a point of sales station; popcorn case; coffee machine; beverage dispenser; frozen soft serve machine; nachos and cheese station; chip snack display; refrigerator and freezer combination display case; sinks and storage.  This work allows the service of pre-packaged food items such as sandwiches, popcorn, frozen treats and beverages, including the option of wine and beer.  Pre-packaged foods, as the café designed will serve, are those which are wrapped and labeled for consumer purchase, and are regulated by state agencies. In North Carolina, most packaged foods are regulated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture (NCDA).


Increasing to the level of foodservice, foods served to the consumer for immediate consumption and meals prepared on site requires additional design and plan review including a regular “Restaurant and Sanitation Inspection” by Wake County and other regulatory agencies as needed and is not included with the option for the café.  Wake County Health would then perform a regular health inspection where a sanitation grade card will be provided for posting in the facility.


Should the café be constructed while a contracted concessionaire is sought, up fitting the café is beneficial by providing an inviting ambiance.  Town Staff would provide event concession services as the café will allow for greater efficiency of operation of having the equipment, service and storage, saving staff from having to stock the operation for each event.  Under this scenario, the $5,000 subsidy for operations would remain.  The event only operations will be on a part time basis and would not have the benefit of near full daytime activity.


Should the up-fit be accomplished and a contracted concessionaire indentified, $18,000 would not be expended from the theater’s operating budget.


Option 2 – Temporary Services

Should the decision be made not to up-fit the café, the facilities operation budget contains a contingency for temporary staffing costs and supply costs to offer concessions only during events.  This service would be provided in the café area from skirted tables with bottled beverages served from portable ice chests and other pre-packaged concessionary products.


Staff estimates that this level of operation could be achieved for the purpose of patron only service.  The initial estimates show an approximate subsidy of $5,000 annually to provide this service.  Staffing and product costs are in the FY14 budget to coincide with the opening of the theater.


Fiscal Impact:

Operating:  There are no operational financial impacts to the Town with the staff recommendation provided a contracted concessionaire is identified.

Funding:  $6,005,000 has been appropriated to date to the DT1101 DT–Chatham Theater project for site acquisition, contracted services and construction.  $5,479,795 has been encumbered/expended leaving an available balance $525,205.


$1,000,000 was appropriated to the DT1000 Downtown Improvements project as part of the FY 2014 adopted capital improvements budget.  $150,000 of this FY 2014 appropriation funds up fitting work in the building addition located next to “The Cary” theater.  Staff requests that this $150,000 be transferred to the DT1101 Downtown – Chatham Theater project to support café construction at the theater.  The $150,000 should be budgeted in the DT1101 construction account for expenditure purposes.  This transfer will increase the DT1101 project budget by $150,000 bringing total project appropriations to $6,155,000.


Staff Recommendation:  Staff recommends approving Option 1, the addition of the café, and to work with the contractor to customize the café to suit Town needs.  Staff recommends the transfer of $150,000 in already-appropriated funds from the DT1000 DT–Available Funds project to the DT1101–Downtown–Chatham Theater project.