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Homes and Community Renewal

HCR and Capital Repertory Theatre announce $2 million Rural and Community Investment Fund award for theREP at Livingston Square

Capital Repertory Theatre and downtown Albany get state support for revitalization project

ALBANY, N.Y.—DEC. 19, 2017—New York State Homes and Community Renewal and Capital Repertory Theatre today announced approval of a $2 million Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund award for theREP at Livingston Square. The CIF award puts Capital Repertory Theatre, one step closer to a proposed renovation of the vacant National Biscuit Co. building at 251 N. Pearl Street.

Projected redevelopment of the 33,000-square-foot space is a key element of a planned $7.9 million project to create a permanent home for Capital Repertory Theatre as the cornerstone of a block-wide revitalization of downtown Albany, providing Arbor Hill, the Warehouse District and underserved residents of the neighborhood with a variety of resources. The building is near Ida Yarbrough Homes, an HCR-funded affordable housing development. The theatre company, the Albany Housing Authority, and local service organizations are partnering to develop programs for workforce training and job placement at the café, in theatre operations, and in an expanded Downtown Ambassadors program.

RuthAnne Visnauskas, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal said, “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, HCR is committed to investing in dynamic community development projects that support the revitalization of cities like Albany. Through this $2 million award, HCR is helping Capital Repertory Theatre achieve its vision for a new state-of-the-art home that delivers high-quality theatre to the region and integrates with its neighboring community to provide workforce training and job placement opportunities.”

Through CIF, Homes and Community Renewal provides low-interest loans for new construction or rehabilitation of retail, commercial, or community facility spaces. The projects receiving the loan must be in proximity to an affordable residential development financed by HCR and clearly serve the needs of its tenants.

Founded in 1981, Capital Repertory Theatre has been housed for almost 40 years in the Market Theatre at 111 N. Pearl, a facility that is no longer amenable to the company’s vision. Since affiliating with Proctors in 2011, theREP has been investigating alternative locations.

As envisioned, theREP at Livingston Square would be a “community living room,” providing entertainment, engagement and workforce development while allowing the theatre company—a member of the League of Resident Theatres and the only professional, producing theatre in a 14-county range—to remain in downtown Albany. Artist housing and patron parking are important future phases of a broader project, which is already attracting potential commercial investment in the neighborhood.

Capital Repertory Theatre provides regular educational programming for children in grades K–12. In addition to student matinee performances of all main stage shows, theRep develops and tours new work for young audiences. It also operates an artist residency program at Albany High School, a summer intensive, young artist development initiatives, and community engagement projects throughout the year.

"With generous support of our loyal audiences, we've been able to do wonderful work here for a very long time,” said the REP’s Producing Artistic Director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill, “but, in order to advance our standing in developing new work, increase our patrons' comfort and utilize modern theatrical stagecraft, we need a well-planned, up-to-date facility. Accomplishing this while staying in the city of Albany would be a dream come true."

“We’ve seen how investing in the arts is an investment in the community,” said Proctors CEO Philip Morris. “Look what’s happened in downtown Schenectady around Proctors. We are grateful to HCR, and this CIF award gives us the confidence to move forward with a historic project that we trust will make Livingston Square the heartbeat of the city.”

Senator Neil Breslin said, “Capital Repertory Theatre is key to a revitalization of downtown Albany. This grant enables Cap Rep to move to its new home after forty years at its current location, and will allow Cap Rep to entertain audiences for the next forty years.”

Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, “It is great to see this investment in the Arbor Hill and Warehouse District. I appreciate the support of New York State Homes and Community Renewal and Governor Cuomo.  Albany continues to see major investments throughout the city. This funding in the arts will enhance what the city has to offer as it continues on its path of revitalization.”

“This funding will help provide a new location for Capital Repertory Theatre, and serve as a new source of jobs and opportunity for the Warehouse District and Arbor Hill,” said County Executive Daniel P. McCoy. “This will provide a state-of-the-art space for the theatre and community and foster the growth of a new relationship.”      

“This $2 million award from the Rural and Urban Community Investment Fund marks a major step toward making theREP at Livingston Square a reality,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and New York State Homes and Community Renewal for their continued support as we work to revitalize downtown Albany and the surrounding neighborhoods.”

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