PACE Wins State Preservation Award for Harvester II Building Restoration | Arts & Theater

The Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center, now a centerpiece of the Council Bluffs community, is also turning heads across the state.

The center was among four projects honored at the 2022 Preserve Iowa Summit when Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment received the Margaret Keyes Award for its $27 million restoration and expansion of the former McCormick Harvesting Machine building. Co. and the creation of the 95,000 square foot arts center, according to a press release from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs.

The award, named after a nationally recognized historic curator who led the restoration of the Old Capitol in Iowa City, was presented June 2 in Mason City, along with a Merit Preservation Project, which recognizes projects that exemplify best practices in history preservation, meet federal standards and use state tax credits for historic preservation.

“I think it’s wonderful because we have a very good facility here that meets the needs of the Omaha-Council Bluffs area,” said Dr. Ted Hoff, whose family provided the main donation of $2 million. dollars for the project. “I am very honored to know that the state has awarded us the prize.

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“We have worked very hard and tried to meet the needs of the community at this facility,” he said. “I think the main thing is that it’s all sort of centralized in one building.”

“I think Council Bluffs should be proud that we have such a wonderful arts center right in our backyard,” said Danna Kehm, CEO of Pottawattamie Arts, Culture & Entertainment. “Until you walk into the facility, you don’t realize everything that’s going on in the building. I also hear a lot of “is it really Council Bluffs?”

The facility houses the 280-seat Polina and Bob Schlott Performing Arts Center – named after the couple who donated $1 million for it – McCormick’s 1894 Bar, rehearsal and exhibition spaces, artist studios, teaching kitchens, classrooms and more and is now the home of Chanticleer Theatre, American Midwest Ballet, the Kanesville Symphony Orchestra and the Kitchen Council. Other major donations included $500,000 from Dick and Deanne Miller and another $500,000 from John and Anne Nelson.

“I was a small part of it,” Hoff said. “There were a lot of moving parts that made the installation possible.”

In fact, the project last year received the Best Community Effort award from the nonprofit Preservation Iowa.

Pete Tulipana, then president of the Iowa West Foundation, was an important leader in the effort, Hoff said, and the foundation committed $9 million to the project — then its largest single grant ever. People from the Chanticleer Theater and other partners helped figure out where things needed to go and what the different spaces needed.

“Judy Davis (PACE Campaign Chair and former PACE Executive Director) has been instrumental in fundraising and fundraising in the community and in Omaha and across the state,” Hoff said.

The McCormick Harvesting Machine Company structure was built in 1894 for use as a farm implement warehouse. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so PACE was able to obtain state historic tax credits worth more than $3.6 million from the State Economic Development Authority. ‘Iowa and historic federal tax credits worth $2.3 million on the renovation project. He also qualified for a $1 million Enhance Iowa grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, $800,000 in federal brownfield tax credits, and a $400,000 state site grant. historical.

The renovation was kicked off with a groundbreaking ceremony on June 1, 2018 amid daunting challenges.

“The building had been vacant for about 20 years,” Kehm said. “While the structure was still solid, some repairs had to be made. We were lucky enough to have two original windows, so we used them as a template. The biggest challenge we had was to maintain the historic character of the building while meeting the needs of all partners.

The design work was done by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, and Hausmann Construction was the project’s contractor, Kehm said.

Representatives from Project Advocates have kept the organization informed of requirements to maintain the building’s eligibility for historic tax credits, she said.

The center opened with a triumphant ribbon cutting on March 13, 2020. However, the COVID-19 pandemic was a huge hurdle during the facility’s first two years, Kehm said. Two days after Chanticleer’s successful production of “The Music Man” opened at the Polina and Bob Schlott Performing Arts Center, the Hoff Center had to close — but traffic is picking up, she said.

“It’s been kind of a stop and go so far,” she said. “It’s only been in the last three months that people have started coming back to enjoy the arts.”

Last month at the center’s Hoff Fourth Fridays event, “we had about 500 people walk through the door,” Kehm said.

The monthly event combines shows, a pop-up restaurant, art classes, and the center’s exhibits. The upcoming Hoff Fourth Friday, scheduled from 4-10 p.m. on June 24, will feature McCormick’s 1894 Bar, a pop-up restaurant, live music from singer-songwriter-guitarist Andre Vander Velde and more. Vander Velde will start performing at 6 p.m.

PACE hopes to see many people return and enjoy the art and culture offered by all of its partners, Kehm said.

The Hoff Family Arts & Culture Center will offer cooking, ceramics, painting and music, theater and choreography workshops for young people this summer. Open studio hours with artists from PACE Studio will be at 6 p.m. on Fridays this month, and artist Jeff Koterba will appear at 8:30 p.m. on June 24 as part of the PACE Speaker Series. He will explain how his ideas on COVID-19 have evolved during the pandemic and how his drawing process has changed – for the better.

Auditions will be held for “Aladdin Jr.” from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on June 18 and from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on June 29, with actors aged 8 to 6 wanted.

The Hoff Center currently features the ‘PACE New Masters’ art exhibit and ‘McCormick’s Vault’ exhibit, as well as its permanent ‘Grant Wood Corn Room Murals’ exhibit. The center accepts applications from artists on consignment.

PACE is also sponsoring Music in the Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday through July 13 at Bayliss Park. Upcoming concerts will feature the Grigio Brothers this week, followed by USAF Heartland of America on June 29 and the Omaha Big Band, Ltd. on July 13. (No concerts are scheduled for July 6.)

For more information, visit or call 712-890-5600.

About Madeline J. Carter

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