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$46.5M Renovation for Historic Houston Theater


AlleyTheatreThe Alley Theatre announced plans Wednesday for the first extensive renovation of its facilities in one of Houston’s most iconic buildings. The leading nonprofit theatre company will pay for the $46.5 million facelift with funds from a $73 million capital campaign, which has already raised more than $31 million toward its goal.

With its bold, concrete exterior and multiple turrets, the Alley Theatre building is one of Houston’s most significant architectural landmarks. The distinctive building in the heart of Houston’s theater district is the only downtown performing arts venue owned and operated by a performing arts company.

Dedicated in 1968, the Alley Theatre building was the first solo project designed by architect Ulrich Franzen. Planned renovations will embrace the building’s unique features while enhancing its character with 21st century theatre systems and audience amenities.

Renovation team and details

Ed Garrett, principal of Houston-based Studio Red Architects, is designing the theater, and Dennis Irvine, founder, president and CEO of Irvine Team, is the project construction manager. Bellows Construction of Houston is the builder. Building upgrade highlights include:

·      New, significantly quieter multi-zoned heating and air conditioning system with localized control to ensure comfort in all areas.

·      Energy efficient windows throughout the building.

·      New roof.

·      New sprinkler system

·      Upgraded lobby elevators to serve the fourth floor.

·      New plumbing throughout the building

Stage additions and improvements

Plans call for four steel columns to be removed from the center of the stage and the addition of a fly loft with computer-controlled motorized rigging. A fully trapped stage floor, increased offstage wing space and other modifications will facilitate easier and faster staging changes between scenes and between shows. Existing dressing rooms will be renovated and new dressing rooms, actors’ restroom, warm-up rooms and storage rooms will be added on the lower level of the building.

Audience amenities

The stage will be extended to create a more intimate experience for the audience, reducing seating from 824 to 777 and seating rows from 15 to 17. ADA seating with lifts will be added in several locations. A new light and sound barrier will enhance the audience experience and minimize intrusion when patrons exit or enter in the middle of a performance.

The women’s restroom on the third floor will double in size, and a new flight of stairs will lead to a larger men’s restroom on the level where concessions are now located. New seating and carpeting will be installed throughout the theatre. A city-view Skyline Lobby Bar will be added

In addition to building improvements, funds from the capital campaign will provide artistic enhancements, augment the theatre’s endowment and increase cash reserves. Theatre patrons are invited to submit ideas for improvements at and contribute to the capital campaign at


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