Embassy renovation kicks off with wall breaking ceremony

Embassy Theatre logo

News release from the Embassy Theatre:

Embassy Renovation Kicks Off with Wall Breaking Ceremony
Donors recognized, $7.3 million raised to date

(July 8, 2014) – The Embassy Theatre’s construction project was celebrated with a literal bang this morning with a Wall Breaking Ceremony that featured sledge hammers, plywood and drywall.

The event marked the official construction start of the Embassy’s $10 million project to renovate the upper floors of the former Indiana Hotel and other undeveloped areas of the building. These areas have sat unused for more than 40 years. The plan calls for a two-story-high ballroom and rooftop garden, studio and rehearsal space, classrooms, history center and improved public access and concessions areas.

The Embassy’s board and staff spent several years researching best uses of the building, spurred by the facility’s 2009 third-floor renovation into a public corridor between the Courtyard by Marriott sky bridge and the Grand Wayne Center sky bridge. Prior to the campaign’s launch in July 2012, the Embassy conducted focus groups and completed an economic impact study and a feasibility study.

To date, the Embassy is at 91 percent of its fundraising goal, with donations and pledges totaling
$7.3 million for the “A Vision for the Embassy” capital project. This includes $5.8 million from individuals, foundations and businesses and $1.5 million from the City of Fort Wayne in TIF and Legacy funds. The Embassy intends to secure at least $8 million from all gifts and is researching tax credits, financing and use of its own investment reserves to reach the $10 million total project cost.

A lead gift of $2 million from the Robert Goldstine Foundation was announced in June 2013. The Goldstine Foundation was established by the late Robert Goldstine, who was a key figure in saving the Embassy Theatre from demolition in the early 1970s. Through Goldstine’s leadership, the community raised $250,000 to purchase the building for the nonprofit organization, which continues to operate it today. The Goldstine Foundation, since its formation, has generously supported the Embassy with annual grants for maintenance and restoration work. Robert Goldstine served as president of the Embassy’s board of directors for its first 20 years and loved playing the historic and rare Grande Page Theater Pipe Organ.

When renovations are complete, the following areas will be named in honor of their donor:

  • Robert Goldstine Auditorium
  • Parkview Rooftop Garden
  • Journal Gazette Foundation “Lessons” Learning Center
  • Chuck and Lisa Surack & Sweetwater Sound Dressing Rooms
  • Tower Bank Theater Lobby Bars
  • STAR Bank Box Office
  • John A. Mann Heritage Center
  • Ambassador Enterprises Board Room

Additional naming opportunities remain available, including the two-story ballroom and second-floor lounge/bar area.

The Embassy has contracted with Weigand Construction for the project. Architect is Moake Park Group. Work in the building began on May 19, 2014, with abatement of lead paint and asbestos. Demolition began on May 29, 2014, and will continue through summer. The project is now in design development stage, with drawings scheduled to be completed by end of July.


About the Embassy Theatre
Built in 1928, the historic Embassy Theatre is a nonprofit organization that features national productions from the Broadway stage, concerts of all musical formats, cinema, educational programming and a continued commitment to young people. For more information, visit www.fwembassytheatre.org.


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