The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra's board of directors said today it has declined an offer from longtime patrons Derek and Margaret Hathaway to turn their North Front Street home into administrative offices.
The Hathaways donated the three-story Susquehanna Township property at 3405 N. Front St. in December 2012.
“The board was and remains very grateful to Derek and Margaret, but we also were obligated to first undertake a thorough business analysis,” said William Lehr Jr., board chairman. “After the acquisition, the HSO appointed a special committee of the board to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the precise costs to make it suitable as an administration center and meet the unique and ideal requirements of the symphony.”
The committee recently reported that the remodeling expense would “considerably exceed” original estimates, he said.
“The board decided that the project would divert too many resources away from the symphony’s core mission, which is to put on orchestral concerts and provide music education programs for the capital region,” Lehr added.
The terms of the agreement with the Hathaways directed that ownership of the property would revert to them if the condition imposed regarding use of the property could not be honored. The deed transfer is expected to be recorded by Nov. 30, officials said.
Derek Hathaway is the former CEO of Wormleysburg-based Harsco Corp. He retired in 2008.
“The symphony supporters should be impressed by the symphony board’s courage to say, ‘thanks but no thanks,’” the Hathaways said in a statement. “And, furthermore, the board are to be commended for objectively recognizing their fiduciary duties and financial limitations in these difficult times. It is obviously better for the community and all of the stakeholders to have the symphony administration remain where it is and have a fully funded symphony, performing to the standards which we are privileged to witness, rather than having an expensively remodeled center and an underfunded orchestra.”
The Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1931. It is governed by a 31-member board.