City of Delafield - The Delafield Arts Center may be looking for a new executive director and a new home.
Susan Steiner, one of the founders of the center, confirmed Tuesday that Delia Sava has resigned as executive director, and the center might move to a new location.
Several downtown sources, including Mayor Ed McAleer, told Lake Country Publications that the arts center might have to find a new home because the Steiner Group, which owns 803 Genesee St. where the center is located, has found a new tenant for the location.
The arts center occupies a large portion of a building that is prime commercial real estate at the intersection of Milwaukee and Genesee streets.
Susan Steiner's husband, Jason, who is president of Steiner Group, purchased the Genesee Street building along with about a dozen other downtown buildings formerly owned by developer Bob Lang in 2007.
Susan Steiner said no lease has been signed for the building, and the Delafield Arts Center is not moving "at this time."
She said arts center officials are exploring a number of options regarding a possible new location for the center that would help it continue to sustain itself as a not-for-profit organization.
"I will be glad to discuss anything with you about the Delafield Arts Center, but I cannot discuss Steiner Group business," she added. Steiner acknowledged that if there were negotiations involving a new tenant for the building, those negotiations would remain confidential until an announcement was made by the Steiner Group.
She would not confirm reports that Sava's resignation might be connected to the center being possibly forced to move with no immediate new location available.
Steiner praised Sava's contribution to the center as executive director.
"She had various reasons for her resignation that I understand and respect," Steiner continued.
Sava resigned effective last week.
"It has been a labor of love and I really am proud of all that's been accomplished here… I am touched by theoutpouring of support that the community has for the arts center," Sava said.
There has been some downtown business speculation that the new tenant might be a large sporting and athletic clothing retailer.
"That would not surprise me," said City Planner Roger Dupler of Yaggy Colby Associates, who is also a member of the Delafield Chamber of Commerce board of directors.
"Delafield is acquiring quite a reputation as the place to be for athletic goods retail," he said, noting the large number of hiking and biking trails in the area along with the Lapham Peak State Park.
However, Dupler said that no company has filed with the city for a permit to operate a business at the location.
A number of city officials have publicly and privately credited Susan and Jason Steiner with being significant contributors to the city's recent increase in downtown business activities. While Susan has been active in promoting downtown Delafield, including the development of the arts center, Jason has been persistent in finding new tenants for his downtown buildings despite a sluggish economy.
Susan Steiner has announced that she is not seeking re-election to the Delafield Chamber of Commerce board of directors and intends to resign as chairwoman of the chamber's Downtown Business Group.
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