ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A longtime downtown fixture of Rochester’s skyline has grand plans for its future, including a new performing arts center.
Innovation Square, formerly known as Xerox Tower, will “reenergize” the former Xerox auditorium into a 700-seat performing arts center that will host community-produced and touring music, theater, and dance performances as well as community talks and eSports, according to officials from Gallina Development.
“The new Theater at Innovation Square will provide a home for local and regional organizations and help bring additional arts programming to downtown Rochester through year-round events and performance series,” said Lauren Gallina, Gallina Development Corp. marketing director, in a press release.
Officials say the theater has sat mostly unused over the past ten years except for each June when the Rochester International Jazz Festival used it as one of their premiere club pass venues.
“This year has been particularly difficult with the challenges COVID has presented for the performing arts,” said Rochester International Jazz Festival Executive Director Marc Iacona in a press release. “Coming out of the pandemic The Theater at Innovation Square presents a tremendous opportunity for us to increase programming downtown not just during the summer but throughout the year as well.”
Renovations are currently underway, officials told News 8 Friday, and the management group is looking to begin events this summer, pandemic permitting.
Gallina Development acquired the property last September and company officials said the building would be transformed to accommodate for housing local college students, as well as space for business innovation. Plans called for the top floors to be reserved for office development.
Officials said 15 floors will be devoted to student housing, with approximately 500 beds, student lounges, study spaces, suites and classrooms.
“Phase 1 is underway and consists of the construction of the first five floors of student housing, renovation of the site, and build out of the amenity package including a student lounge and fitness center, which will offer students an alternative to traditional ‘on campus’ housing and the ability to locate in downtown,” officials said in a press release. “The leasing process has started and the first 60 units are slated for move-in August of this year.”
Evan Gallina is the manager of Gallina Management. He said he has a vision to transform the Xerox campus.
“The whole purpose of Innovation Square is to create a collaborative campus at the heart of downtown in which students from multiple institutions can live, learn, and innovate under one roof,” he said.
Gallina officials say the “vision for the theater” is overseen by Innovation Arts Management LLC under the direction of Natalie Fuller and Karl Stabnau who have “long envisioned a downtown arts space that serves the diverse needs of the community.”
Officials say plans for the theater include updates to the stage and theater infrastructure, a new sound and light system, built-in multi-camera HD streaming equipment, a physical box office, and concessions that will be available during events. They add that below the theater is a 350+ car parking garage that patrons will be able to use during events.
“We hope to really bring an impact down here, it’s far more than a real estate project to us it’s our heart and soul in this city,” Gallina said.
For more information about The Theatre at Innovation Square, visit this website.