Thursday, Palace Theatre management announced the $65 million expansion project on the theatre will be moving forward. The plan was announced last summer, but because the City of Albany owned the Palace, there were issues with raising money for the project.
"When government owns a building, people seem less willing to open up their pocketbooks," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, "even though there's a not-for-profit that's set up that is taking donations. We really want for the entire Capital Region to have a sense of ownership of this building."
Ownership of the building will be transferred from the city to the Palace Performing Arts Center Board, pending approval from the city council. The board will then continue raising funds for the project's first phase of around $30 million, to help expansion of its backstage and rehearsal space.
"We have some incredible people on our board who are very committed to our project," said Executive Director Holly Brown. "They have funded efforts like this in the past; they're anxious to start. We just have to get the transfer of the building to the city taken care of."
Theatre management hopes to break ground by October, and has made an agreement with local labor unions to provide workers. They say this project will bring the theatre into the 21st century.
"We really just want to maintain the momentum that we've been pushing here," said Brown.