Groundbreaking Event for the Joseph Caleb Auditorium Expansion and Renovation
Friday, February 16, 2024 at 10:30 AM
Materials for the Press:
Media Contact: Liliana Hernandez-Constenla
A significant transformation is in the works for the Joseph Caleb Auditorium
The Joseph Caleb Auditorium is a 962-seat theater that has been a significant gathering place for the Liberty City community for over 40 years. Featuring concerts, community forums, movie screenings and productions by community arts organizations and renowned artists, beginning in 2023 the Auditorium is embarking on a much-needed expansion and renovation project.
The first phase of construction will include the expansion of the theater’s back-of-house area to augment the loading dock and storage area for load-ins onto the stage, provide more direct access to the new loading dock from 56th Street, and provide improved user amenities such as dressing rooms, bathrooms, break rooms and offices. This scope will also include replacing the Auditorium roof.
The second phase of work will include significant improvements to the theater’s front-of-house spaces and theatrical systems. This scope is in the planning stages and is being led by 2+Architects. All major systems (electrical, mechanical, fire suppression, etc.) are being reviewed and upgraded as necessary and spaces are being reconfigured to adapt to the facility’s current and future needs. The concession area is being re-imagined into an intimate bar and lounge, bathrooms are being reconfigured to maximize capacity and incorporate family restrooms, administrative offices are being relocated to make better use of the available spaces, and the entrances into the hall are being modified to improve their acoustical qualities. A new interior design scheme will introduce curved ribs with integrated lighting to define sections of the lobby, light-colored finishes, terrazzo flooring, and wood accents to warm the spaces. Inside the Auditorium main hall, new finishes, house lighting and seats will modernize the look and feel of the space, while acoustical treatments and theatrical systems (rigging, lighting, and sound and communications) will be replaced and/or added to significantly improve the theater’s production capabilities and patron experience. A digital marquee on the corner of 54th Street and 22nd Avenue will be instrumental in promoting the Auditorium’s cultural offerings. Construction documents for these improvements are anticipated to be ready for the permitting process in early 2024, followed by bidding and award of the construction contract, and the start of construction in late 2024.
Additional improvements to rework the entire area that is the Auditorium’s outdoor entry courtyard are also in the planning phase to completely transform the visitor experience, address drainage issues, reinforce sustainability initiatives and improve the tree canopy in this urban environment. The plan includes a new terraced outdoor performance and gathering space, opportunities for outdoor dining and event space, and improved ADA access. This courtyard will feature a major outdoor public artwork.