Orange County’s Segerstrom Center faces financial challenges

Posted on: March 16, 2011

In last Thursday’s (3/10) Los Angeles Times, Mike Boehm writes, “Carrying debt during turbulent economic times continues to cloud the financial picture for the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, which on Tuesday saw Standard & Poor’s Financial Services downgrade the investment outlook on its $232.5 million in construction bonds from ‘stable’ to ‘negative.’ S&P analysts concluded that while ‘some aspects of the center’s operations have improved over the last year,’ it hasn’t been enough to offset slow progress on a fundraising campaign that remains about $52 million short of its $240-million goal. … While the analysts report that the center believes the campaign has been ‘reinvigorated’ by $4 million in recent pledges, they remained concerned about fundraising prospects of a campaign now in its 12th year. … The center’s 2009-10 financial statement shows that it spent $7.5 million during the year to retire some of its bonds, reducing the amount which it must pay ongoing interest from $240 million to $232.5 million. Overall, the financial statements show, the center had a $962,000 surplus for the year, abetted by $10.4 million in investment earnings.” Segerstrom Center was formerly known as Orange County Performing Arts Center; resident companies include the Pacific Symphony and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, a presenting organization.

Posted March 16, 2011