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Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts plans theater across from Metra station

The Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts is a small step closer to reality after officials recently announced the selection of a home for the proposed.The organization said it plans to locate the proposed theater.
” Rendering of proposed Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts building on First Avenue.Rendering of proposed Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts building on First Avenue.(Architects’ Studio)Graydon MeganPioneer Press.The Elmhurst Centre for Performing Arts is a small step closer to reality after officials recently announced the selection of a home for the proposed 50,000-square-foot, multistage facility with a projected price tag of $30 million.The organization said it plans to locate the proposed theater complex at 109-119 West First Ave.
opposite the Elmhurst Metra station, a site the group describes as “in the heart of Elmhurst.”“What we have right now is a contract on the location,” said board treasurer Laura Michaud.“We don’t own it right now.”Michaud said her group is being very careful to let tenants in the existing building know their operations won’t be disrupted anytime soon.“We’re three to five years out from razing the building and building (new),” she said.The aim is to close on the building this summer, using funds raised by private donations.
A cultivation study is underway, she said, to help the group figure out sources for short-term donations to close on the property and long-term funding to complete the purchase and build the theater.The idea to establish a hub for the performing arts in Elmhurst first surfaced in 2016 as a way to bring together the wide range of performing arts talent and groups in and around Elmhurst.Group members have talked to people from the city, Elmhurst College and other arts organizations to garner support for the idea, although none has pledged any financial backing.Michaud acknowledged that the project has grown in scope and cost over the last two years.
A 2018 feasibility study said a 550-seat main theater was needed along with what’s called a separate “black box” theater of 130 seats. The proposed facility would also include rehearsal and classroom space, ground floor retail and food service and a rooftop gathering space.Michaud said plans call for bringing in and staging what she called quality theater, including outside productions of dance, music and theater that would generate revenue.“Community groups will still be using the space,” she said, “but we’ll (also) be producing our own shows.”The combined effect should be good for businesses in town. A study done by Johnson Consulting Group in 2018 indicated that each theater goer would spend nearly $50 while in the area, group officials said.

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