ALBANY, N.Y.—MARCH 27, 2018—With New York State’s Monday announcement of a $1.8 million Restore New York Communities Initiative grant to the City of Albany through Empire State Development, Capital Repertory Theatre has revealed that it will transfer its operations, in December 2019, to Livingston Square. The National Biscuit Co. building, at 251 N. Pearl Street, will become the new home for Capital Repertory Theatre, with a 300-seat MainStage, 70-seat black box theatre, full time café and box office.
Since August, theREP has been using the property, purchased through the generosity of its board, for set construction and storage. With completion of architectural drawings, the 30,000-square-foot former bakery will also house new administrative offices, rehearsal rooms, an event space and dedicated costume and prop shops, allowing for all activities to take place within a single footprint.
“We are moving forward with relocating theREP,” says Proctors CEO Philip Morris, “and joining good neighbors like Albany Distilling Company in invigorating Livingston Square.”
“The funding provided to the Capital Repertory Theatre development project will help keep one of the Capital Region’s premiere arts institutions in the City of Albany for years to come, and spur growth in the Arbor Hill and Warehouse District neighborhoods,” says Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “Thank you to Governor Cuomo and Proctors for their continued dedication to the revitalization of New York’s Capital City.”
Residence at the National Biscuit Co. building will allow theREP to expand its programming, with up to 100 more annual events attracting an additional 10,000 patrons; and to expand its robust educational offerings, which currently reach more than 17,000 students from 64 schools in 39 communities.
“This is the dream,” says theREP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, who has been at the helm of the theatre, which joined forces with Proctors in 2011, since 1995. “We have worked towards this goal for so long. Being under our own roof, and one of our own design, will allow us to better serve our community, to better engage with our patrons and our friends nearby, and to truly be an arts center for the 21stcentury.”
Additionally, theREP, in association with the Interfaith Partnership for the Homeless, will expand the Albany Ambassadors Program, providing employment to individuals from the community as they greet patrons at the new theatre, and provide information about parking, restaurants and amenities.
There is ample on-street parking in the vicinity of National Biscuit; and theREP will work with Albany Parking Authority to develop further safe and easy parking opportunities.
“This project, resulting from and driven by years of commitment from the Capital Repertory Theatre board, is all about civic engagement,” says board President Harold N. Iselin. “Many local agencies have a hand in this, all coming together to create a new arts district with an authentic link to the community. We thank Mayor Sheehan, the Albany Housing Authority and Governor Cuomo for allowing us to take this step.”
In addition to the Restore NY grant announced today by the city, the $8 million 251 N. Pearl Street venture has received funding from several sources, including a $2 million award through New York State Homes and Community Renewal; a $950,000 Regional Economic Development Council Award; and $1 million in pledged seed gifts from the Capital Repertory Theatre board. Capitalize Albany Corporation and the Laberge Group were instrumental in preparing the Restore NY submission.
“With this announcement, we are also entering an initial quiet phase of the fundraising campaign to complete the project and make theREP’s new home an unqualified success,” says Proctors Relationships Director Dan Hanifin.
As with all major projects at Proctors, before going forth a full philanthropic feasibility analysis was completed.
During construction, the Livingston Square project, according to a Capital District Regional Planning Commission impact study, will create up to 70 new jobs and have an $11 million impact on the Albany County economy. Once in operation at Livingston Square, theREP will create 47 permanent jobs (direct, indirect and induced) and continue to have an annual impact of $4.5 million on the local economy.
On completion of the National Biscuit Co. building, a second phase of the Livingston Square transformation will focus on creating on-campus artist housing near Livingston Avenue and Broadway.
Capital Repertory Theatre, founded in 1981, is the only professional producing theatre in a 14-county range, and is a member of the League of Resident Theatres, operating under its contracts and regulations as well as those of the Actors’ Equity Association. Since its inception, it has leased a former Grand Cash Market, at 111 N. Pearl Street, where it will remain for the duration of the 2018–2019 season.