The performers are patiently waiting in the wings as, slowly but surely, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative project known as Main Street 56 Theater moves forward.
Project Manager David Ciurzynski of Ciurzynski Consulting LLC, of Attica, on Friday said the preliminary design work has been delayed by the coronavirus but, if everything breaks right, the theater will be able to open its doors to the public next summer.
“We’re trying to finalize the design that got held up a bit because of the COVID-19 requirements – (as we’re) looking to design it in a way that is flexible for social distancing,” Ciurzynski said. “And we’re also still looking for people for financing – to solidify that.”
He said the demolition work is almost done.
“The area is pretty cleared out, and ready to build,” he said, noting that the 11,000-square-foot facility will feature a dance studio, theater that seats 150, offices and storage rooms.
It will be located at 35 City Centre -- in space formerly used by the Dent Neurological Clinic office, between Genesee Dental and The Insurance Center.
Ciurzynski said that Batavia Players, the not-for-profit organization operating the theater, has hired Thompson Builds of Churchville as the general contractor. Thompson Builds has done extensive work in Genesee County, including construction of a new Town of Batavia firehall off Clinton Street that is happening now.
“We’re going to start, hopefully, in a couple months on the dance studio and then the theater after that,” Ciurzynski said. “We are waiting on some of our first reimbursements from the DRI for the work that we’ve done so far – we have to wait for the Department of State on that. But, hopefully, in the next month or so, we’ll be able to get some money from the state so we can keep things moving.”
He said the timetable has “the meat” of construction taking place in late winter and early spring.
“We’re trying to get through all of the pandemic requirements and making sure we have space for social distancing, and it’s a kind of reimburse-as-you go-along with the Department of State,” he offered.
The project is one of several awarded to the City of Batavia as part of the state’s $10 million DRI.
Since the total project cost is estimated at $910,000 and the DRI award for the theater is $701,750, fundraising will come into play, Ciurzynski said.
“Batavia Players will have to raise the difference, and will have to rely on the community to help them with that,” Ciurzynski said, advising that various fundraising efforts are underway.
Patrick Burk, president of Batavia Players, said the troupe is in the process of closing down its current location at the Batavia Industrial Center on Harvester Avenue.
“We will be reopening a new office and bringing in a bunch of new volunteers to assist state and local government officials on the project,” he said.
Batavia Development Corporation Director Andrew Maguire said the theater project aligns with the city’s “All In” effort which, in part, focuses on fostering arts and entertainment and cultural appreciation Downtown.
Renderings provided by David Ciurzynski, Ciurzynski Consulting LLC.