ALBANY — The Palace Theatre's expansion and renovation project is moving forward, but there are still some chores ahead.
The Palace Performing Arts Center, the not-for-profit corporation that operates Albany's celebrated theater on Clinton Avenue, announced an agreement Thursday with local labor unions. The Project Labor Agreement (PLA) will create work opportunities for skilled laborers; about 200 full-time jobs will be created during the course of the project.
"This is an important project, which we believe will be transformational not only for the city of Albany, but Albany County," said Jeff Stark, president of the Greater Capital Region Building Trades. "The trade unions support this project and believe it will spur further development, which creates jobs. We can't wait to see the shovels in the ground."
Palace Performing Arts announced plans in July to build a bigger stage and a 600-seat theater on Pearl Street. The renovations and construction are expected to cost $65 million.
Fundraising efforts cannot officially begin until Palace Performing Arts acquires the Palace building from the City of Albany. The corporation leases the theater from the city now; negotiations are continuing.
During Thursday's press conference -- on the worn, wooden stage of the theater -- officials said the facility needs more than $4 million in repairs for upgrades to the roof, plumbing and heating systems, among other things.
"There are some structural things that need to be taken care of throughout the building," said Holly Brown, the Palace's executive director.
Among the economic impact points made were:
- Of the $65 million project cost, an estimated $30 million in construction labor costs will be paid primarily to workers living in the Capital Region.
- The new theater, as well as new spaces created for community and educational programming, will increase Palace patronage by more than 400,000.
- The production will create a one-time economic impact of more than $100 million.