After being a neighborhood staple for nearly 85 years, Harlem’s iconic Apollo Theater is ready for its first physical expansion.
The legendary theater, located at 253 West 125th Street, will create two new theaters and office space as part of the redevelopment project for the Victoria Theater, where two 26-story towers are rising. Together, the new facilities will encompass 25,000 square feet and will be located on the third and fourth floors of the building at 233 West 125th Street. Architecture firm Kostow Greenwood are in charge of designs, with one of the theaters housing 99 seats, while the second consisting of 199 seats.
The Apollo Theater is also planning to develop a theater rental subsidy program for nonprofits, though the details haven’t been fleshed out yet. There will be educational and community programs, support for “emerging and world-class artists,” and office space for partner cultural organizations like Classical Theatre of Harlem, the Harlem Arts Alliance, and Jazzmobile office space.
“The Apollo is the soul of American culture and the Apollo Performing Arts Center will allow us to share that culture with an even wider audience,” said Apollo Theater executive producer, Kamilah Forbes. “The new theaters will allow Apollo to provide support for artists throughout their career, especially emerging artists, and will provide an opportunity for us to grow our artistic programming as we continue to create a new, 21st-century performing arts cannon...”
Aside from the two new theaters, the Victoria Theater redevelopment will bring 191 apartments, a hotel, and a cultural center to 125th Street. The residential and hotel portions of the development will be split between the two towers, with the residential component rising above the theater and the 210-room Renaissance Marriott fronting the other end.
The two new theaters are expected to open in fall 2020.