While the Alex Theatre’s total income declined 21% during the first quarter of this fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30, the drop was expected due to a massive renovation project underway, according to a financial report released this week at a City Council meeting.
Despite the revenue slump, the manager of the historic venue, Glendale Arts, netted $65,000 in sponsorships during the same period, an accomplishment highlighted in the report written by Glendale Arts Chair Harry Hull and Executive Director Elissa Glickman.
The rise in sponsorships is good news as the nonprofit prepares to become self-sufficient.
Currently, the theater relies on a $415,000 subsidy provided by the city of Glendale through its former redevelopment agency, but that management fee will expire next year. The $5.3 million renovation, which included a 6,600-square-foot expansion of the venue’s backstage facilities, was also covered by redevelopment funding.
For some time, city and Glendale Arts officials were concerned about the renovation’s fate as redevelopment agencies throughout California shriveled up after state lawmakers voted to dissolve the funding program aimed at ending blight in favor of closing a multibillion dollar budget gap.
Much of the project ended up being approved by top state financial officials as the city had promised to do the contract prior to redevelopment’s dissolution. However, some work — such as the addition of a chiller for $250,000 and roof replacement for $240,000 — still needed approval.
At a City Council meeting this week, officials announced they had received the final green light from the state Department of Finance. The additional expenditures are inclusive of the original revamp cost.
“We are looking very good and this asset will shine quite brightly for the community going forward,” said City Manager Scott Ochoa at the meeting on Tuesday.
The construction project is scheduled to be completed by the end of April, according to city officials.
“It’s great to be on time and on budget,” Glickman said by phone.
In addition to the $65,000 in sponsorship donations — which will be used to offset discounts given to nonprofit production companies such as the Los Angeles Ballet and the Glendale Youth Orchestra — Glendale Arts was also able to hammer out 60 new bookings between November and June, partially due to the construction improvements, which make handling larger productions possible.
The theater reopened in November after being closed for construction. It closed once again in mid-December, but reopened permanently earlier this month while renovation work continues.
The theater’s total income dropped by 21% to roughly $465,000 compared to the first quarter of last year, but by the end of the quarter, the reserve balances were at roughly $423,000, about 19% higher compared to the first quarter ending in September 2012, according to the financial report.
In September, Glendale Arts hired a development consultant to create a fundraising plan for the theater as it moves toward self-sufficiency. Other changes coming to the Alex Theatre include a possible run of Broadway shows, such as “Catch Me If You Can,” which may come to the theater later this year.