Pacific Northwest Ballet Takes A New Stage: A Courtroom
UPDATE: On Monday, Jan. 25, King County Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle ruled against Pacific Northwest Ballet. The judge said Sound Transit may use fair market value for PNB’s eastside school, rather than the replacement value of the facility. The ruling only determines the method of assessment for the property value. A jury may still place a higher value on the school. A court hearing on the issue is set for June.
Pacific Northwest Ballet has performed in a lot of places.
But Friday the dance company will be on a new stage: a King County Superior Court room.
PNB wants a judge to settle a dispute with Sound Transit.
King County Superior Court Judge Theresa Doyle will hear the ballet company’s motion at 10 a.m. on Friday.
Two years ago, when Sound Transit got the go-ahead to expand light rail east of downtown Bellevue, it was great news for mass transit commuters.
But expanding light rail on the eastside was a big setback for Pacific Northwest Ballet.
Sound Transit told the dance company it had to move its Bellevue ballet school, which is located right in the path of the new light rail line.
The school is in a former warehouse that PNB rented and renovated in 2002.
Sound Transit has offered just under $4 million to help PNB offset relocation costs. But PNB Executive Director Ellen Walker says that’s not enough to replace the school.
Walker says Sound Transit should have appraised the building as cultural asset instead of a warehouse.
WALKER: “You can’t buy and sell a ballet school, so we should have been evaluated differently than we were, and therefore our appraisal should have been done not using traditional market methods, but as a special use building.”
PNB is asking a judge to make Sound Transit re-appraise its initial assessment.
Sound Transit’s new Chief Executive Officer Peter Rogoff says it’s unfortunate that PNB and his agency have not been able to reach an agreement outside a courtroom.
ROGOFF: “We very much want the same thing that they want. That is for PNB to have the very same high quality facility once we complete the light rail system as they have today.”
Rogoff has been on the job less than two weeks.
He says his staff is reviewing new information and he hopes both sides of this dispute will come together for more talks.
PNB must move out of the Eastside school on Aug. 1.
The dance company hasn’t found a new space yet.