Rochester Repertory Theatre might be on the verge of finally owning the building in which it rehearses and produces its plays.
“We have the option to purchase the Rep building,” Mark Masbruch, president of the Rep’s board of directors, announced March 15 before the opening of the current production, “Avenue Q.” “We just need to come up with a down payment.”
The building in which the Rep performs, at 103 Seventh St. NE, is owned by William P. Kolb, according to Olmsted County Records. The estimated market value for tax purposes is $283, 100.
It’s those taxes that the Rep would get out from under if the organization is able to purchase the building. As a non-profit organization, the Rep would be excused from property taxes if it owned the site. But the Rep’s lease agreement requires it to pay the property taxes on the site, which Masbruch said are about $10,000 annually.
“It would be economically advantageous” Masbruch said.
It is not known what the asking price of the building is, but Masbruch indicated the Rep would need about $80,000 for a down payment.
To get a start on that, the Rep will hold its annual “Build Our Future” fundraising event April 13. That, combined with some matching grants and other donations, could get the Rep about halfway to its goal, Masbruch said.
“Then we’ll start calling some people,” he said.
The Rep’s annual budget has inched up to about $120,000 in recent years. It is an all-volunteer organization with no permanent paid full-time staff. The theatre just announced its 36th season, which will include an expanded lineup of seven plays.
Masbruch listed a redesign of the performance space, an increase in the number of seats, and expanded bathrooms as key projects if the building is purchased.
The Rep formerly performed on the second floor of a building that no longer exists at 314 1/2 S. Broadway. When forced to move from that site in 2007, the Rep was able to secure performance space in the current location, which had been the home of the now-defunct Studio Academy arts school.
The 9,256-square-foot building was constructed in 1957. The Rep uses the front of the building facing Seventh Street Northeast, as a lobby/reception area and ticket office. The performance space, which has 90 seats, is at the rear of the building. A second, smaller rehearsal/performance space is located on the second floor.
Those interested in supporting the Rep’s fundraising drive may go to rochesterrep.org/about or call (507) 289-1737.
Tom Weber, Post-Bulletin March 20, 2019