CATSKILL — Lumberyard Contemporary Performing Arts theater is one step closer to fulfilling its mission.
The film production and performance venue secured $1 million in state economic development funding Friday to help repay the $5 million loan the organization borrowed to get the project up and running.
Lumberyard, a four-building facility along the Catskill Creek, will have its grand opening today. The performing arts space is the former Dunn Building and Supply Center on Water Street in the village.
Work on the $8.2 million project started in late December, when workers undertook some demolition of the structure and performed a large-scale abatement project after asbestos was found in the building.
Lumberyard received a $5 million impact investment loan from the Rudolf Steiner Foundation last August and a $500,000 grant through the state’s Empire State Development Program.
“This is an $8 million project,” said Adrienne Willis, Lumberyard’s artistic and executive director. “We have to leverage everything.”
The organization will hold fundraisers to continue to recoup project expenses, Willis said earlier this month.
Sen. George Amedore, R-46, secured the money for the space, which is operated by a performing arts group formerly known as the American Dance Institute.
“Pretty exciting, big news for Greene County as well as the village of Catskill,” Amedore said Friday. “It’s an economic grant that will help with a revitalization for Catskill.”
Lumberyard’s first floor will house a 400-seat theater designed to replicate performance spaces in New York City, public bathrooms, offices and artist dressing rooms that will connect to the main stage. The second floor will feature artist residency quarters.
Lumberyard will host internationally recognized artists in its 7,000-plus-square-foot space, which can be reconfigured to replicate a variety of New York City stages. The venue will also be used as a TV and film studio and is considered to be the only qualified production facility Greene County, according to a statement from Amedore’s office. The studio can serve filmmakers and production companies looking to take advantage of the state’s film tax credit program.
“Having a facility like this in Greene County will attract world-class talent in the industry,” Amedore said.
The project will also help boost the county’s workforce, he added. At peak performance, the center could support the creation of 150 direct, indirect and induced jobs, according to Amedore’s office.
“We are just thrilled to have the support of Senator Amedore,” Willis said. “He is a business man and he knows that this will generate a lot of tourism and a lot of jobs.”
Scottish actor Alan Cumming, whose credits include “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion,” “Goldeneye,” “X-Men” and the CBS police drama “Instinct,” will host tonight’s grand opening ceremony at Lumberyard.
The ceremony will also feature a performance by Tony-award winning choreographer and tap dancer Savion Glover, featuring critically acclaimed drummer Marcus Gilmore.
The announcement of the grant put wind in Lumberyard’s sail in time for opening night, Willis said.
“With our grand opening celebration taking place [tonight], the timing couldn’t be better,” she added.
More than 850 people are expected to attend the grand opening.
“One of the things we do best is support artists,” Willis said. “We have been able to do that well — not just here, but also in New York City.”
Willis is excited about the talent coming to Catskill for tonight’s event, she said.
A recent economic impact study projects Lumberyard will welcome up to 10,000 additional visitors to the region each year, according to Amedore’s office. The venue is also projected to have a $13 million economic output driven by the center’s artistic programming, film and TV production soundstage rentals and conference and wedding rentals.
Amedore and the town of Catskill have been extremely helpful with bringing Lumberyard here, Willis said.
“Thanks to Catskill for being such a great partner and being so encouraging and inviting,” she said. “They really welcomed us here instead of putting up barriers.”
Reach reporter Logan Weiss at 518-828-1616 ext. 2414 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.