Rate list spells out cost to rent space at event center

Naugatuck native Eran Troy Danner performs the opening set Dec. 6 at the borough’s music venue at the Naugatuck Event Center. Mayor N. Warren ‘Pete’ Hess recently put together a rate list to rent four areas in the event center, including the music venue. –LUKE MARSHALL

NAUGATUCK — Organizations looking to rent space at the Naugatuck Event Center now have a clearer idea on what it will cost.

After the borough debuted its new music venue at the Naugatuck Event Center in early December with a performance by musician Anders Osborne, calls came in to rent the venue, according to Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess.

Though the borough had the room and the desire to rent it out, there was one crucial piece missing — a rate list.

In December, Hess unveiled a rate list to rent four areas in the event center at 6 Rubber Ave. The areas are two sections of the first floor — known as the Gray Room and the Beige Room — the entire first floor, and the music venue, called the Gem Venue.

Hess said the rates are preliminary and not set in stone. He said officials plan to iron them out as things progress to make sure the prices are fair and profitable.

“We can adopt something formal, but I don’t really feel comfortable doing it until we test it and see what the market is,” Hess said.

The rates are different depending on what space is being rented and on what day. Also, there are different rates for a nonprofit organization, civic organization and private entity.

The cost to rent the Gem Venue, which is named after the Gem Theater in the borough’s former Town Hall, is $500 for a charity organization, $600 for a civic organization and $1,000 for a private entity for eight hours Monday through Saturday.

On Sundays and holidays the rates increase by $100 for charity and civic organizations, and by $300 for a private entity.

The price range to rent the Gray Room starts at $350 for a nonprofit Monday through Saturday and increases to $650 for a private party on Sundays and holidays. The range for the Beige Room is $425 to $700, while the entire first floor starts at $850 for a nonprofit to rent Monday through Saturday and increases to $1,800 for a private entity on Sundays and holidays.

Each venue has a separate hourly rate to rent for events that last less than eight hours.

“These numbers are not final. The criteria is not all here. But we are swamped with people that want to know what’s involved. I think they are assuming it’s free, and it’s not,” Hess said.

“When we have a charity event, we still have costs. We still have to have people be there, open up, clean up,” Hess added. “There is no such thing, except for a borough event, as a totally cost-free event.”

Robert Butler, the borough’s purchasing agent, said the rates take into consideration the cost of having a janitor present and electricity. Even at the lowest cost for a charity event, the borough will still make a profit, he said.

The borough purchased the former General DataComm building, which is now the event center, and adjacent parking lot for $2 million in 2013. The borough began holding events in the building in 2017, and officials are looking to do more with the building now that a development agreement with the New Haven-based Sustainable Development Corporation has been terminated.

Previously, Hess said, each rental at the center was taken on a case-by-case basis.

There will still be some events where the borough partners with an organization rather than charge a rental fee, Hess said.

“Some of the events we do we will make more money by being a partner with a promoter and splitting the proceeds after the expenses are paid,” Hess said.

Hess said the borough is not trying to be a direct competitor with any other venue, but the fact that people have requested the event center so often necessitated creating a rate sheet.

“We are going to keep playing with it. We are going to test it,” Hess said.