Foit-Albert to design Riviera Theatre $6.1 million expansion

Foit-Albert to design Riviera Theatre $6.1 million expansion

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The Riviera Theatre has selected Foit-Albert Associates for a proposed expansion of the historic North Tonawanda landmark.

Foit-Albert Associates will design a 23,000-square-foot new wing to the rear of the circa-1926 era theater.

“We are confident that Foit-Albert Associates is the right firm to partner with the Riviera Theatre as we set the stage for our expansion,” said Jim Pritchard, Riviera co-director.

The $6.1 million project will see the construction:

• of a smaller, “Black Box Theatre” that will be used for event space, diverse shows and community meetings;

• corporate and private event space;

• expanded concession and merchandise sales space;

• elevators and ADA-complaint bathrooms;

• new dressing rooms, showers and wash facilities for the performers;

• additional storage space;

• a revamped lobby with educational and local historical space;

• a new ground level box office, staff office and conference room space.

The expansion is the centerpiece of the Riviera’s “Set the Stage” capital campaign. The campaign has raised $1.35 million, with the bulk — $1.2 million -— coming from a Western New York Regional Economic Development Council award.

Gary Rouleau, Riviera co-director, said Foit-Albert should have the design work completed by this fall.

Construction won’t begin until the project is fully funded.

The 1,100-seat Riviera Theatre hosts nearly 250 events annually ranging from concerts to movies to performances by its Wurlitzer-created pipe organ. The theater welcomes an estimated 150,000 people each year and has a projected $3 million local economic impact. The expansion could add another $1 million to the theater’s annual economic impact in the region.

“We are very excited to be part of this important, regionally significant project and look forward to enhancing and strengthening this beautiful historic theater,” said Gwen Howard, Foit-Albert vice president of architecture.

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