Tonawanda, NY: Historic Riviera Theatre selects Foit-Albert Associates for theater expansion, development project

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on June 15, 2016 at 7:46 am


From The Historic Riviera Theatre and Performing Arts Center has selected award-winning Foit-Albert Associates to design the regionally significant Riviera Theatre expansion and development project, which is designed to set the stage for future generations to enjoy the venue.

Foit-Albert Associates will design a 23,000-square-foot addition in the rear of the theater on a fully remediated brownfield site that will enable the Riviera Theatre to increase the number and type of events offered. The project increases accessibility, includes general upgrades that will benefit patrons and performers, positively influences the theater’s economic impact on the downtown and region, and establishes new and sustainable revenue sources.

“We are excited to move forward with an architectural partner with extensive experience in the design of new buildings and the restoration of existing facilities that will help us set the stage for an expansion that not only functions and looks great, but also compliments our history and community,” said Gary J. Rouleau, Riviera Theatre co-director.

“Following an extensive process to select a qualified architect was very important to us,” said Jim Pritchard, Riviera Theatre co-director. “We were very impressed with the available talent of architects here in Western New York (and beyond) who submitted proposals. We are confident that Foit-Albert Associates is the right firm to partner with the Riviera Theatre as we set the stage for our expansion.”

Gwen Howard, Foit-Albert Associates vice president of architecture, said, “We are very excited to be part of this important, regionally significant project, and look forward to enhancing and strengthening this beautiful, historic theater.”

The Riviera Theatre “Set The Stage” expansion and development project includes: •"Black Box Theatre" flexible event space for more and diverse shows and community and educational events; •Flexible corporate/private event space; •Concession/merchandise space for new and existing facility; •Elevator and new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant bathrooms for patrons and visitors; •New dressing rooms, showers and wash facilities for performers; •New lobby area with educational and local historical space; •New ground level box office, staff office and conference room space; and •Additional critically needed storage space.

The “Set The Stage” capital campaign total project goal is $6.1 million. Current funding raised is $1.35 million, including a $1.2 million Western New York Regional Economic Development Council award. The timeline calls for a design completion this fall, en route to construction next fall (when fully funded).

The impact of the Riviera Theatre expansion project, according to a Camoin Associates economic impact study, is: •Up to 250 events per year; •Up to 150,000 visitors annually; •$653,000 in new, local economic impact annually; and •14 new jobs into the local economy, annually.

Riviera’s new positive total annual economic impact will be over $4 million annually. The theatre currently has an annual $3 million positive economic impact to the region.

The Riviera Theatre is a quality-of-life, historical, architectural, arts and cultural regional treasure and destination that anchors a vibrant and evolving downtown in the City of North Tonawanda. Built in 1926 and listed on the National and State Historic Registers, it is home to the Mighty WurliTzer pipe organ built in North Tonawanda. The Riviera Theatre attracts 100,000 visitors and hosts over 175 events annually, including live concerts, movies, comedy and theater.

For more information on the Historic Riviera Theatre “Set The Stage” capital campaign, visit

The Riviera Theatre and Organ Preservation Society Inc. is a registered 501 © (3) not-for-profit organization with the mission to preserve and maintain the Historic Riviera Theatre and the Mighty WurliTzer Organ and to promote the performing arts.

Foit-Albert Associates, Architecture, Engineering and Surveying, P.C., is an award-winning multidisciplinary architecture, engineering, environmental, and land-surveying consulting firm with offices in Buffalo, Albany, Briarcliff Manor and New York City. It was founded in 1977 with the notion that every project is unique and represents a manifestation of the vision and mission of each client.

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ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at


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