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RBTL begins site selection process

A site selection committee looking into a new theater performing arts center for the Rochester Broadway Theatre League has focused its search on five site proposals, which it will review in the coming weeks.

The proposals come from Anthony J. Costello & Son Development, developer of the Clinton Crossings project in the town of Brighton; SRC Development Group LLC, owner of the Medley Center in the town of Irondequoit; Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack in the town of Farmington; J. Fiorie & Co., developer of the Canal Ponds project in the towns of Greece and Gates; and the town of Webster.

Frank Hagelberg, committee chairman, said other sites still could be considered after the initial round of presentations. Following RBTL’s announcement Thursday, Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy issued a statement that the city will re-examine the prospect of renovating the Auditorium Theatre.

The city hired The Pike Co. to issue a feasibility report on renovations. A report conducted by RBTL showed the proper renovations would cost between $60 million and $100 million. Duffy also said the city would be open to looking into other sites in the city if renovations are not viable, naming the Midtown footprint as a possibility.

In his letter, Duffy also challenged the idea that a theater would need a seating capacity of at least 3,000, which RBTL has stipulated. The letter included a study of theaters in 19 mid-sized cities, finding the average performing arts center seats 2,409 patrons.

Presenters to RBTL have been asked to provide information regarding the proposed location, including vehicular access; traffic patterns; loading facilities; availability of nearby hotels, restaurants and retail operations; zoning restrictions; and the proposed development schedule.

Specific data has been requested from presenters about the size and configuration of the theater building, including lobbies and other amenities, dressing rooms, and rehearsal areas and possible alternate uses of the facilities for private and corporate events.

A portion of these discussions will be open to the public. The committee also will meet privately with presenters to discuss proposed ownership, leasing and operating structures, along with proposed financing.

The initial presentations are scheduled to begin Oct. 15 and will conclude by mid-November.

(c) 2009 Rochester Business Journal. Obtain permission to reprint this article.


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