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August Update

Summer 2009 has thus far been a busy and productive time in the effort to save Troy Proctor’s Theatre, and the next chapter in the cause is well underway. Significant detail-work necessary to render the restoration project feasible and construction-ready is proceeding accordingly, with a corresponding increase in support for the movement.

On July 2, 2009, RPI graciously accommodated members of the Troy Proctor’s Committee, granting member and a team of professional consultants to enter and begin to study the Proctor’s Theatre and the attached office building. The best outcome of this visit was confirmation that the theater is extremely sound, being of steel beam and poured concrete construction, and will require very little structural work.

Based upon estimates gathered from the assembled team of professionals, the true costs of restoring the facility to as near its original glory as is reasonably possible comes in at ~$14.8M, as contrasted with the ~$30M suggested by supporters of the plan to demolish Proctor’s Theatre. It should be noted that the primary difference in these conflicting numbers lies in the Save Proctor’s plans not including demolition and rebuild, or significant structural changes which an alternative adaptive reuse of the theater would mandate – instead, for the most part, remaining within the existing footprint.

While the costing process was underway, the committee simultaneously consulted and worked with financial advisors to develop funding sources for the restoration portion of the project. These sources include conservative estimates of grant money from the Restore NY program, as well as salable historic and new-market tax credits. The results of this effort have been surprisingly fruitful, and will likely account for the majority of funds needed for the restoration. The resulting analysis indicates that only ~$4.7M will remain to be raised through grants, fundraising, and private conventional funding.

Most importantly, the committee drafted a business plan to operate Proctor’s Theater and front office building once restored. The plan demonstrates that Troy Proctor’s can not only support itself, but can begin showing a profit in year four of operations. Additionally, a conservative estimate, based on national entertainment industry reports, shows an operational Troy Proctor’s Theatre will annually generate $720,000 in sales for local Troy businesses. Our next step will be to further refine the business plan financials based on deeper research.

On August 25, 2009, the Save Troy Proctor’s committee presented detailed reports to the Troy City Council Planning Committee relative to the plan’s costs, funding, and business viability. At the meeting, RPI and Columbia Development were singled out for their willingness to communicate with and accommodate the committee in it’s efforts to gather information for the proposed alternative restoration plan. The Save Troy Proctor’s committee also reaffirmed its desire to keep Columbia Development as the primary contractor for the project if the restoration plan is accepted.

Council members and administration officials present at the meeting expressed interest in the plan. Councilman Ken Zalewski stated for the record his support for the Save Proctor’s restoration plan, further indicating he is willing to speak publicly in favor of it. Jeff Buell, the city’s economic development specialist, stated that the city could back the alternative plan, assuming the numbers withstood analysis.

Note: Times Union and Troy Record both wrote stories on the August 25, 2009 Troy City Council Planning Committee meeting with Save Troy Proctor’s. For links to these articles see Media: Proctor’s in the News on the homepage.

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