ALO still singing
Austin Lyric Opera sells its iconic headquarters to put cash in the coffers
Just 12 years ago the Austin Lyric Opera (ALO) seemed on the road to expansion. To accommodate the staff needed to do that, ALO built a gorgeous, and immediately iconic building on Barton Springs Road.
But along with our economy, arts organizations have been feeling the fund-raising pain, the ALO among them. And on Friday it sold that building for $5.45 million to Megalomedia, a reality TV production company.
Things looked bleak for the Opera last spring. The ALO, a founding resident Long Center company, found itself up to its eyeballs in debt — as much as $2 million — and needed to make changes in order to survive. So they cut back their show runs from four to three, they put their headquarters up for sale and they will soon spin off the Armstrong Community Music School.
The building sale puts ALO back in the black. Its debt is paid and the proceeds place the Opera on solid financial footing. “We will spend the first quarter of 2012 locating rehearsal and office space and expect to be settled into new quarters well before summer,” Smith said in a press release Friday.
The Austin Lyric Opera celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Back in November, CultureMap columnist Shelley Seale spoke to ALO leaders about that history as they launched their first 2011 production.