The drama surrounding the possibility of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival moving its headquarters, administrative, educational and rehearsal space into the former Macy's building has entered its second act. But it's a bit more improvised than on-script.
"You're not invited," Greater Boise Auditorium District Chairman Hy Kloc told Boise Weekly as he and fellow GBAD commissioners prepared to gather in private June 24.
In fact, all non-invitees were ushered out the door as GBAD went into executive session, which according to Idaho Code can include matters concerning "an interest in real property which is not owned by a public agency."
When BW asked Kloc who was invited to the clandestine meeting, he smiled and said, "Our guests are from the Idaho Shakespeare Festival."
We turned around to see a full ISF contingency, including Producing Artistic Director Charlie Fee, Managing Director Mark Hofflund, Director of Finance Sherrill Livingston, and Lynn Johnston, Karen Meyer and John Sims, from the ISF Board of Trustees.
Also invited to the closed-door meeting was Jeff Shneider, principal emeritus of CSHQA.
"This would give [ISF] a permanent home and they have a huge education program during the day, which would bring a lot of people into that area every day," he told BW in May.
Boise Weekly first reported in November 2012 about ISF's desire to move into the former Macy's building, which has sat empty since March 2010 (BW, News, "Much Ado About Macy's," Nov. 14, 2012). CSHQA has plans to build about 62 apartments on the second through fifth floors, leaving the main floor and mezzanine open for a high-profile project.
"But this is all pre-campaign and pre-development, and [ISF] has been down enough roads to be naturally cautious about getting our collective hopes up too high," Hofflund told BW after the June 24 executive session, which at approximately 80 minutes, ran longer than the public portion of GBAD's meeting.
Because GBAD's mission includes the construction and development of performing arts space, its directors have been quietly meeting with ISF, CSHQA and public interests--including the city of Boise and the Capital City Development Corporation--about a plan to convert former retail space into a new home for ISF.
Hofflund told BW that ISF has explored several long-term plans over the years, "But nothing as unusual or unique as this."
Sixty minutes into the executive session, GBAD legal counsel Don Knickrehm emerged from the private proceedings.
"They're wearing us down," he said, before taking a breath and returning behind closed doors.