October 22, 2018
Huntington Theatre Gets Site, New Space for $1 for 100 Years

December 21, 2017 — The City of Boston last week approved a private redevelopment plan that calls for the developer to donate existing theater space to the Huntington Theatre Company, a nonprofit that is an anchor cultural institution on Huntington Avenue, and allow it to lease a new, cultural space for a penny a year for the next century.

"This approval puts in motion a donation by commercial developers QMG Huntington LLC of the historic Huntington Avenue Theatre and its support wing to the Huntington Theatre Company for its ownership in perpetuity," said Huntington Theatre Company.

QMG Huntington will also provide the Huntington Theatre Company with 14,000 square feet of new cultural space, to be sited at the base of a 32-story apartment tower QMG will build, with a 100-year lease for the price of $1.00.

The theater company is responsible for outfitting the new space, to serve as its new entrance, and will provide public amenities including increased gathering spaces and an expansive second floor lobby that will double as an event space and intimate performance venue for up to 150 people.

“This is a significant milestone for the Huntington. We are now that much closer to realizing our ambition for a state of the art theatre complex that provides modern comforts alongside classic architecture and allows us to expand our programming, serve more people, and take an even greater role in the civic life and cultural vibrancy of our neighborhood,” said Managing Director Michael Maso.

The theater company said it will expand its programming to provide year-round activity in the theatre and lobbies, and will make these new spaces available for use by the community.

David Epstein, board chair of the Huntington Theatre Company, said, “The restoration and expansion of our beautiful theatre on Huntington Avenue is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, one that we are confident will have a lasting impact on the city of Boston, and it will be through the generosity of new and established donors that we will be able to raise the funds necessary to bring this project to fruition.”

The project is a partnership between the theater company and a trio of Boston developers, who in 2016 paid Boston University $25 million to buy the building that has housed the theatre for 35 years, according to The Boston Globe.

The paper also reported the theater company is launching a fund-raising drive, hoping to raise as much as $70 million for construction and to boost its endowment, with the final target amount dependent on development costs.

The new tower, to rise 362 feet, will be in stark contrast to area structures, which are mostly two-story and mid-rises.

In addition to staging professional productions, the Huntington runs programs in education and new play development and serves the local theatre community through its operation of the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts.

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