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Theater on Main could be a Big (not for profit) Deal

This is just to spotlight the scoop on the old theater on Main Street - as posted by member Cabot Parsons in the forums.
"There is currently a plan by a local nonprofit organization to renovate the theatre into a performing art and film center with three performance spaces: a 960 seat music hall, a 150 seat black box experimental theatre (with a resident theatre company) and a rooftop cabaret and supper club (in honor of the former Wonderbar there, the painted sign of which you can still see on the western side wall). The center will operate 365 days a year, with both live performances and first run and independent film, while the lobby will also double as a tourism and visitors center.

The organization is The Rutigliano Group, founded by Beacon native son Rob Rutigliano (disclaimer: I'm on the board). This is the same group that did the Beekman Street Artist Banners. Check out all their projects and plans at www.rutiglianogroup.org"

Thanks to Cabot for the exciting info. I'm hoping to do a Q and A with Rob at some point, stay tuned.

Views: 21

Tags: main, nonprofit, performance, street, theater

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Comment by Cabot Parsons on July 28, 2008 at 1:13pm
I believe Beacon Terminal Associates is the holding company for all of Erhlich's properties, including One East Main (the property that now holds Electric Windows) and the other buildings across from it surrounding Fishkill Creek Falls that are next to Main Street (though yes, you are correct, the terminal buildings are not anywhere near). My reference was to those buildings that would expand upon Main Street and East Main Street's retail and live/work offerings.

I haven't heard anything about a film festival consortium at all, nor to my knowledge has that plan been brought to the attention of the city. I have never met Mr. Ehrlich personally, but he has a very long and good relationship with Rob (Rutigliano) and I don't think there is any ill will at any level between them and certainly none from me. The pressure against BTA that I'm aware of is from many Main Street merchants and other concerned long-time residents, and any stories I've heard of those development difficulties is from those sources and the public record. I was just passing it along to others who didn't have any idea of the back story with Ehrlich and his property development history in Beacon, and for no other reason.

If you'd like to hook us up with your friend so we could find out more about the film festival project idea, we'd be happy to meet with them. Rob's plan involves two of the three spaces having screens and first-run and independent film being a part of the regular offerings, so definitely no bias against community-based cinema. Perhaps the two groups could work together with the festivals serving as a major tenant. Rob's plan combines that with live music, theatre, comedy and other programming, so it sounds like a really cool win-win might develop. There's no reason that both film and live performance can't be integrated into Beacon, and the resulting mix will keep the center open on a nightly basis, rather than it "going dark" for much of the time, as do some of the other presenting theatres in other cities along the Hudson, limiting the amount of patrons that would be drawn to the area to shop and eat, etc.,. Certainly the cache and drawing power of already established film institutes (one of my former clients is the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures, so I'm a little familiar with the field) would be a GREAT thing to have here.

I don't think that having Norman Adie build anything here would be good for the town, for the reasons I stated before. If Ehrlich is no longer entertaining that relationship, that would be a good thing, in my humble opinion.
Comment by Cabot Parsons on July 27, 2008 at 11:51pm
Beacon Terminal Associates (aka Bill Ehrlich and partners) has been on the hot seat with the city for the past several months for non-maintenance of many of the industrial spaces they own, which have fallen into various states of disrepair. Hopefully recent actions by the city will help move these buildings into the hands of serious developers ready to transform them into the amazing shops, restaurants, work spaces and residences they have the potential to be. As for Norman Adie (the multi-plex developer Charlene mentioned), his plan has yet to find any purchase in Beacon, the area is already oversaturated with screens in Fishkill and Newburgh that play to scant handfulls of patrons, no money ever changed hands between him and BTA, and a simple google of his name reveals a larger path of opening delays, disgruntled patrons and litigation than successful cinema operation. When we lived in Brooklyn we watched him take a very successful two screen cinema in Park Slope a block from our home and run it into the ground. It is now an American Apparel Store. His recent openings in Monroe and the Poconos have been rife with issues and problems. Erlich has been courting more than one interested party and continues to be in negotiation with The Rutigliano Group, who hope to have an official announcement about the future of the space in the months to come.
Comment by Gregory Strong on July 26, 2008 at 7:21pm
What is going on with his Beacon Cultural Project venture?

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