‘Arts’ And Crafts

Reg Lenna Revitalization Project Remains On Schedule

The Reg Lenna Center for the Arts theater lobby is currently being renovated, which will include the removal of the concession stand and the multilevel floor. Funding for the project is coming from several sources, including part of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. Submitted photo

The $4.75 million revitalization project for the Reg Lenna Center for the Arts is on schedule.

Renovations started the first week of December, with a lot of demolition and abatement being completed, said Kathleen Eads, Reg Lenna Center for the Arts executive director.

“The theater lobby is right on schedule as far as the demo. The steel is arriving in the next couple of weeks, that will be a significant moment,” she said. “The project is scheduled for 10 months, we expect to be done by October. The goal is to have the street level done by Lucy Fest (first week of August) so we can open the lobby back up.”

Highlights of the construction project include renovating the theater lobby to open up the space. Before the renovations, the concession stand was in the middle of the lobby and the area had two different floor levels. After the renovations, there will be one level and the concession stand will no longer be in the middle of the lobby.

“It will be a true transformation. The lobby will soon reflect the beauty of the theater inside,” Eads said. “We’re going to break through the wall of where the old box was and break into the corner building. This area will function as a bar and a VIP, reception area. Then it will be linked to the cafe.”

The Wright Conference Room with the drywall removed displays the original brick walls. The entire project is expected to be completed by October. P-J photo by Dennis Phillips

The renovation project will also see the 3rd on 3rd Gallery moved from the third floor to where the studio gallery was located. This area will be a coffee bar with a retail kiosk when the renovations are completed.

The Reg’s radio station 107.9 WRFA will also be expanded, Eads said.

There will be three on-air studios constructed in a multimedia studio on the third floor. She said the new studio will have live stream capabilities, which will be a wonderful community asset.

The project will also include Americans With Disabilities Act improvements, infrastructure enhancements, safety upgrades, renovated offices and apartment space.

Five of the seven buildings that make up the Reg Lenna complex along Third Street are being renovated. The structures being renovated under the Reg Lenna umbrella include the Swanson building; the elevator building, which connects everything handicap wise and provides access to the stage; the administrative building; 116 E. Third St., which is the lobby of the theater; and 118 E. Third St., which is the box office building to the left of the lobby.

Funding for the project came from several sources. The Reg revitalization project was one of 10 projects that received funding through the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative program. In 2016, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the DRI to invest $100 million into 10 communities — one municipality from each of the Regional Economic Development Councils. The initiative aims to assist communities with transformative housing, economic development, transportation and community projects to attract and retain residents, visitors and businesses. Jamestown was the first community selected for the DRI in Western New York. Reg officials were funded $1.5 million through the DRI program for the renovation project.

“I’m working with the state Housing and Community Renewal Department,” she said. “The way the funding works is it is all reimbursable. The contracts I have are set to go. Once I spend around a million, which will go quickly, I go ahead and invoice the department and they reimbursement me. Unfortunately they just don’t send me a check.”

Reg officials have also secured local funding for the project from various foundations in the amount of $3.2 million including $1.5 million from the Ralph C. Sheldon Foundation; $900,000 from the Gebbie Foundation; and $850,000 from the Lenna Foundation.

The general contractor and construction management team for the project is Lehigh Construction Group of Buffalo.