MOBILE, Ala. (WPMI) During a news conference Friday at Mobile's Saenger Theatre, Mobile Mayor Sam Jones announced the city would be taking over control of the historic venue.
The Centre for the Living Arts has operated the Seanger for more than a decade, and donations they received made the Saenger Theatre's restoration possible 10 years ago.
That's why it may seem odd that CLA was excited about turning control of the historic theatre over to the city of Mobile.
Their executive director, Bob Sain, didn't mince words when he explained why.
"It's lost money every year for the last decade," he said, "and at some point you have to ask, what's the smartest way to do this?"
Mayor Jones announced the city would immediately begin a search for a new company to take over control of the Saenger.
He admitted companies like SMG, RSA and Huka Entertainment are among those already interested.
"Well, I think you have to have a professional management group that can really focus on filling the Saenger," said Jones. "CLA did a good job with the resources they had, but it's not their primary mission.
And what about the CLA?
Handing the city back to the city allows the organization to focus on projects they have... like a Dauphin Street art park and an art incubator at the old Mobile Press register building.
The city council is expected to finalize the plan next Tuesday.
The choice could be made by June and the new company could be on the job by this fall.