ConsultEcon Management & Economic Insight


February 18, 202
Go / No-Go Decisions for New Cultural Facilities
Written by: Robert Brais, Vice President, ConsultEcon, Inc.

A client recently said about their proposed new museum: “what we really need is a go/no-go decision.” Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. For most cultural facilities such as museums a go/no-go decision is based on four key questions:

Will the cultural facility meet a community need?

Is there a workable site?

Can the cultural facility be economically sustainable?

Can the capital funds for development be raised?

By answering these questions with market and economic studies, a community is in a much better position to commit to building the facility. This approach has been successfully used in scores of communities nationally. Otherwise, a go/no-go decision may end up being based on a “shoot from the hip” approach; or the answer to these crucial questions may be “internally generated” but lacking objective outside expertise. These approaches can lead to poor decisions.

Market and economic studies evaluate the attendance potential, support site selection and create a business plan that addresses the first three questions. Then, informed decisions about the opportunity can be made. Further, the information generated by answering these questions is generally required to conduct capital campaign feasibility studies that answer the fourth question. A relatively short and cost-effective analytical process has proven a wise use of time and resources for many successfully developed projects. Typically, quick and accurate go/no-go decisions are not possible. A surefooted approach is advisable to put the project on the path to success.