Additions to DPAC include an Aloft hotel, additional event space for the President’s Club and new restroom facilities for women, said Durham City Manager Thomas Bonfield. Called the Wrapper Building, the annex will “wrap” around the parking deck and the west side of DPAC. A connection between the hotel and DPAC will allow for quicker commutes to shows, and new restaurants will line the bottom floor of the building. Construction will begin later this fall and last for 12 months, Bonfield said.
The physical facility is owned by Capital Broadcasting, who is the main investor for the project. Bonfield said that DPAC will not contribute money toward construction happening this year.
Bonfield noted that the project initially evolved from a discussion last year on a lack of bathroom space for women.
“We began looking at alternatives for the [women’s bathroom] problem,” Bonfield said. “Then Capital Broadcasting approached us about building a hotel. This addition really makes DPAC a better facility, especially because of the bathroom situation.”
Bonfield believes the renovations will attract more Duke students, who are already a well-represented group at DPAC, he noted.
Aaron Greenwald, director of Duke Performances, said he does not think the additions will be a significant draw for students.
“I don't believe the DPAC additions will have any impact on Duke students at all,” Greenwald wrote in an email Wednesday. “I think that [the additions] will probably continue to make DPAC and American Tobacco a magnet to Durham from folks coming from throughout the state.”
Duke contributed $7.5 million to the initial development of DPAC in 2008, but Greenwald said he does not think Duke will make any financial or planning contribution in the future.
Like Greenwald, some Duke students do not believe the additions will provide a significant added benefit for them.
Sophomore Kimberly Farmer, a Duke Student Government senator for Durham and regional affairs, said she heard about the renovations through local news outlets, but she has not been part of any discussions.
Sophomore Jack Stanovsek has attended DPAC concerts in the past, noting that the quality of shows is not comparable to those held at other venues in the area, such as Cat's Cradle in Chapel Hill.
“Unfortunately, I don't think the hotel addition is going to encourage any sort of cultural growth,” he said. “It would be fantastic if DPAC could orient its objective and money to bringing awesome musicians into Durham.”