Sunday, August 30, 2015

How much for that Academy of Music?

No, it's not for sale. But as part of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association's bankruptcy case, the orchestra must calculate the value of the entire estate, since that amount helps to determine how much creditors will receive. One of the orchestra's biggest assets in the estate is the 155-year-old Academy.

How much for that Academy of Music?

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No, it's not for sale. But as part of the Philadelphia Orchestra Association's bankruptcy case, the orchestra must calculate the value of the entire estate, since that amount helps to determine how much creditors will receive. One of the orchestra's biggest assets in the estate is the 155-year-old Academy.

Determining the real value of the Academy is a little like putting a price on the Liberty Bell. Who would buy it? Does one factor in cultural and historical significance, and if so, how? But Larry McMichael, the orchestra's bankruptcy lawyer, says a valuation can be determined.

"That is the job of the appraiser, that is what they do," he says. "It’s possible to put values on it. It's always an estimate, but that is the customary way of dealing with it."

The Association has retained Lukens & Wolf LLC to come up with a "fair market value" and evaluate "the leases and restrictions on the Academy Property [which includes the Academy and a condomnium in the Academy House] to determine the impact such leases and restrictions have on the value of the property," according to papers filed with the court.

McMichael says the Association - which is the sole shareholder in the Delaware non-profit corporation that owns the Academy -  is not considering selling the Academy or transferring ownership.

"Not at all. Just the opposite," he said. "The plan is to preserve the Academy in terms of ownership and continue it as a community resource in perpetuity." The orchestra, he says, "intends to keep the Academy and update it and restore it."

Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

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