Palace announces project labor agreement for $65 million expansion

January 12, 2017 06:12 PM

ALBANY -- The Palace Theatre announced an agreement to work with unionized labor in its planned $65 million dollar renovation and expansion project at a press conference on Thursday. The Palace Performing Arts Center Inc. board says securing skilled labor through the Project Labor Agreement is important in renovating such a historic building.

The next thing standing in the not-for-profit corporation's way is actually owning the building.

"The transfer of the Palace from the city is critical to then raising the necessary funds to further this project," said Alan Goldberg, Chairman of the Palace's board.

Back in August, there was fiery debate at a common council meeting over whether to transfer the Palace from the ownership of the city to the Palace for a dollar.

The Palace board says the theater needs $4.2 million in repairs. That includes work on the roof, plumbing, and the HVAC system. Mayor Kathy Sheehan says transferring it is the right move.

"We're not losing the Palace, we're actually gaining a stronger better more vibrant Palace," said Sheehan.

Neither the city nor the Palace would comment on negotiations to transfer the property.

The Palace board has already committed $750 thousand into studies and architectural drawings, among other things.

Palace executive director Holly Brown says once they have the building, she's not worried about getting funding.

"We can't really go out and secure funding until we have the building. There is funding available to us once we have control of the theater," said Brown.

The project would be done in phases. Among the planned improvements: A new 600 seat theater, studios and classrooms, and expansion of the original stage house.

Both Sheehan and the Palace board are confident the transfer will happen.

The mayor says the Palace board and select members of the city council should be meeting soon to talk about the transfer.  

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Asa Stackel

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