A North Hollywood classical theater company announced plans Wednesday to transform a long-vacant downtown Glendale storefront into a new cultural arts center, boosting the city’s efforts to create a burgeoning entertainment arts district.
The Antaeus Theatre Co. is taking 7,700-square-foot at 110 E. Broadway, a highly visible location across the street from the Americana at Brand outdoor mall and a block from the Glendale Galleria.
The space at the intersection of Brand Boulevard has been vacant, except for pop-up Halloween stores, since a Gateway Computer retailer moved out several years ago, said Philip Lanzafame, the city’s economic development director.
The project will transform the storefront into an 80-seat main theater and a 40-seat black box stage, and feature additional rehearsal space, a lobby and a classics library. The theater hopes to complete the multimillion dollar reconstruction in time to stage its fall 2016 season there.
The theater company has hired Tarzana architecture firm John Sergio Fisher & Associates, which specializes in theater design, to perform the work. It plans to launch a capital campaign to raise the remaining $1 million needed for the renovation, said Ana Rose O’Halloran, the group’s executive director.
“The whole company is very excited and we can't wait to get into our new space,” she said.
The theatre company currently stages productions at a 49-seat theater at 5112 Lankershim Blvd., in the NoHo Arts District. In the spring it produced Shakespeare’s “Henry IV, Part One,” while scheduled for this fall is Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.”
It has been amassing funds for a move since its Vineland Avenue theater was demolished for a condominium development in 2005. It considered multiple sites throughout L.A. County but chose Glendale after securing favorable terms on a 10-year lease with a 50-year renewal option, O’Halloran said.
Attracting a new theater provides some validation for Glendale’s ongoing efforts to enhance its downtown arts and entertainment district and bring evening customers to its shops, restaurants and bars.
The Museum of Neon Art will open its new facility in the arts district later this year. And the city recently finished a $6.5 million update and expansion at its historic Alex Theater that has brought additional show bookings to that venue, said Mayor Ara Najarian.
“The theater is a great fit. We want to use the arts to create an 18-hour city downtown while preserving the peace and quiet of our residential streets,” he said.
The campaign to bring more cultural events to Glendale’s downtown comes as the city has entitled a raft of multifamily developments downtown that will bring 4,000 rental units online within the next 18 months, Lanzafame said.
“Now, we’re looking for a boutique hotel that would be a nice complement to the city and bring occupancy-tax revenue. And we’re contracting with a consultant to advise us on how we can attract new tech companies to fill up some of the empty office space here,” he said.