Acquisition and Renovation
The first phase of the project will be from November, 2012 until May, 2013. The goals of this phase are to obtain the control of the building, renovate only the spaces necessary to begin generating revenue and to establish programs for the marketing and daily operation of events. Licenses and permission to operate the building will be obtained, and relationships with the city, our neighbors, our suppliers and contractors will begin. The building will have to be cleared of asbestos-containing flooring materials prior to the renovation. The Kitchen/Cafe, Bell Tower Lounge, stairwells and entries will be renovated and/or upgraded. To the extent possible, ductwork will be installed for the future upgrade to the mechanical systems. At the completion of Phase One, The Castle will be ready to host our first events in the 2nd Quarter of 2013.
Development of Operations
In Phase Two, the emphasis will be placed on refining our programs and establishing additional revenue streams, and will last throughout the summer wedding and concert season until November 2013. Renovation will be completed on the Manager’s Suite, Basement Stage/Hall, Dressing Room and Gift Shop. Audio and Video studios and systems will be designed and integrated throughout the building in preparation for the upcoming stage and theater upgrade in Phase Three. Staff will be recruited and trained for the Dinner Theater and Cafe. Catering menus and packages will be established and marketing will begin as soon as possible for private and corporate events. Office space will be established for Hourglass Media in the 1954 addition, and in the south bell tower. Rental contracts will be solicited for unused classroom and office/storage space. The Castle and The Youth Unite will participate in the Beloit Farmer’s Market, and programs for concurrent art fairs and exhibits will be developed with the Beloit Arts Incubator and/or Beloit College. The Gift Shop and Box Office will be established and the School Field Trip curriculum will be developed, staffed and marketed.
Sanctuary Upgrade and
After our first nine months of operation, we will evaluate our existing revenue opportunities and tailor our marketing for the 2014 season accordingly. Preparations will begin to expand our reach by hosting larger events that will draw patrons from the Chicago and Madison metro areas. In late fall of 2013, the sanctuary space will be modified to accommodate a larger flexible stage system to allow removal and storage of the pews. Permanent stage lighting and upgraded audio/video equipment will be incorporated based on needs that were identified during Phase Two’s operational development. A commercial quality screen and projection system will be installed along with window treatments. Marketing of the facility as a large entertainment venue including the BJSO and BIFF will begin, and we will solicit touring musicians to fill the 2013-2014 calendar. We will coordinate marketing efforts with the City and State of Wisconsin to position The Castle as a regional attraction, featuring nationally-recognized artists and speakers. As a means of generating capital for improvements, “Castle Club” membership programs will be initiated providing season tickets, preferred seating and recurring space and catering availability for individuals and corporations. These sponsorships will include recognition and promotion of businesses and/or members during Castle Events.
Long Term Building and Site Improvements
Over the winter of 2013, improvements to the exterior will be evaluated and financed, with the method TBD. The roof replacement will be the first priority, and a redesign of the boulevard/entry will be explored with an emphasis on parking enhancement and ADA accessibility. A complete mechanical overhaul will switch from radiant water heating to efficient central heating and air conditioning air handling systems. Windows and doors will receive energy-saving upgrades with five-year payback horizons. A backstage loading platform and alley entrance will be considered.
The completion of Phase Four in 2014 will mark the end of the major capital investments into the project. Revenue streams will have been developed and refined, so that full-time executive staff positions and operating expenses can be funded with income rather than investment. Efforts will be made to aggressively pay down outstanding loans, followed by a return to Hourglass Media LLC of their original investment.