Five Flags Civic Center Assessment and Study

In 2017, the City of Dubuque hired consultant Conventions, Sports and Leisure International (CSL) to conduct a comprehensive study and assessment of the Five Flags Civic Center in consideration of expanding/improving the facility.  Since 2017 and following additional direction from the City Council and the Five Flags Civic Center Commission, the project has included multiple phases and the exploration of several options.  A complete history of this project is available on the Project History page.

In 2019, the Five Flags Civic Center Commission endorsed "Scenario 4 Hybrid" for the potential project. This scenario includes demolition of the existing Five Flags Center arena, improvements to Five Flags Theater, and the development of a new, state-of-the-industry arena via a northward expansion of the center’s current footprint. This option would increase attendee capacity to nearly 6,400 for concert events and 6,000 for arena floor events (i.e., no portable floor seats)

February 2022 Update: The City Council held a work session on Feb. 9, 2022 to review scenarios and determine future action. At this meeting, the City Council requested updated cost estimates and projections to further discuss a potential referendum.  

  • CLICK HERE to view the agenda for this work session which includes a comprehensive list of background materials related to the project.

  • CLICK HERE to watch a video of the presentation made to City Council at the Feb. 9, 2022, work session.

April 2022 Update:  A consultant’s updated analysis of capital and operating costs for an expanded/improved Five Flags Civic Center has been completed and will be discussed by the Dubuque City Council at their Monday, April 18, meeting. 

The city council requested this updated analysis in order to more appropriately plan for a potential public referendum for the project.  If the city council chooses to pursue the project, a public referendum would be required and the soonest a public referendum vote could be held is September 13, 2022.  

The previous estimate for a total project cost was $74.34 million.  The updated analysis increases that estimate to $89.7 million, an almost 20.7% increase.  If a referendum is held and passed and the project was financed over 20 years, the City’s financial advisor has calculated the property tax impact to the average homeowner (based on an average home value of $159,503) would be $193.28 the first year and would decrease each year to $161.59 the final year. 

The updated analysis includes new operating projections as well as utilization and attendance projections for an expanded/improved Five Flags Center. It increased projected annual revenues from $1.75 million to $1.96 million and expenses from $2.1 million to $2.2 million.  The updated estimates indicate a reduction in the facility’s annual operating deficit from its current level of $856,000 to approximately $252,000, a 70% reduction. 

  • CLICK HERE to view the Updated Analysis of Capital and Operating Costs for an Expanded/Improved Five Flags Civic Center

  • CLICK HERE to view the April 18 City Council meeting agenda item with additional background documents.
Updated Five Flags Project Cost Analysis Thumbnail Image

Summer 2022 Update:  

In June 2022, the City Council considered setting the date for a Five Flags Referendum vote in March 2023.  Following significant discussion at the June 6, 2022, meeting, the City Council decided to delay scheduling a referendum and to instead hold a work session to further review scenarios/options for Five Flags.  

  • CLICK HERE to watch the discussion at the June 6, 2022, meeting.

In July 2022, the City Council voted to hold a work session at 6 p.m. on Oct. 24, 2022, to further discuss the future of Five Flags.  In the meantime, City staff will gather updated cost estimates for the various improvement scenarios presented previously and to review needed capital improvements for the facility.  

  • CLICK HERE to watch the City Council discussion on this decision at the July 5, 2022, meeting. 
  • For additional background on what will be shared at this work session, please read the Staff Memo submitted to CIty Council.