New York City Center to Undergo $75 Million Renovation

News   New York City Center to Undergo $75 Million Renovation City Center, the Manhattan venue originally built in 1923 and later dedicated by Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia in 1943 as Manhattan's first performing arts center, will undergo a $75 million renovation.

The renovation of the theatre, the current home of the acclaimed Encores! concert series, will be carried out in two phases: late April-September 2010 and mid-March 2010-October 2011. This schedule ensures that there will be no significant interruption to the City Center schedule.

The renovations, designed by Polshek Partnership Architects, will include upgrading "the building from the canopies in front to the back of house with new lighting, improved seating and sightlines, gracious new amenities and more," according to City Center notes.

Arlene Shuler, president and CEO of New York City Center, said in a statement, "With this campaign [Campaign for City Center: Preserving the Past, Securing the Future], we are ensuring that City Center can better serve its artists and audiences in the future, even as we celebrate and restore the glory of our past. We are deeply grateful to our Board and the other supporters who have already stepped forward to make this campaign a success, beginning with the City of New York."

Duncan Hazard, Partner in Charge, Polshek Partnership Architects, added, "When people step into the refreshed and reanimated City Center, we hope they will feel we've given them a thoroughly top-line, modern performing arts center, that remains true to their affection for this wonderful place. It is a privilege for us to be working with this gorgeously ornamented building, which simply could not be constructed today. We want it to be a pleasure for the audiences and performers to experience every aspect, old and new, of City Center."

Changes will include "a new canopy on the exterior with additional exterior lighting and signage. . . In the interior, the original box office lobby and mezzanine lobby will be faithfully restored, and several dramatic new spaces will be introduced, including an expanded and redesigned street level lobby and a new patrons' lounge that capitalizes on an existing alley space. The number of restroom facilities of the theater will be increased by 50 percent. Upgrades to the auditorium will include the re-sloping of the floors to improve sightlines within the house, and the reconfiguration, respacing and resizing of theater seating throughout to make it compatible with contemporary standards and to provide more comfort and improved ADA accessibility for all patrons." Back-of-house improvements include "a new 'sprung' stage floor suitable for dance, all new theatrical support systems, a completely refurbished dressing room tower and ADA accessible toilets for the performers."

The renovation will also respect and enchance the original theatre's Moorish-accented design motifs.

Rendering of the proposed 55th Street City Center marquee
Rendering of the proposed 55th Street City Center marquee Photo by Polshek Partnership Architects
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