When Geva brings in artists – actors, designers, directors, choreographers, etc. – they stay in Geva’s artist housing, which is about to get an exciting new upgrade! On Monday, property owner/investor Eduard Nakhamkin and developers Patrick Dutton and Luke Dutton announced that they have partnered with Geva Theatre Center and are developing one of the buildings at Woodbury Place to house the theatre’s artists and actors, which is expected to be ready in early 2015.
Geva has signed a 10-year lease on the 1 Woodbury Blvd. building – just 150 steps from the theatre – for 11 studio loft apartments. The redeveloped building will highlight the existing architectural features of the building but will also include modern, loft-style design with exposed brick, soaring ceilings and windows, access to a rooftop patio and garden, polished concrete floors, and on-site laundry.
“Geva is the most attended regional theatre in the Northeast United States outside of Manhattan, and a theatre like Geva – a national level theatre – needs artist housing to match its caliber of productions and performers,” commented Geva Executive Director Tom Parrish. “First class artists deserve first class housing. This new housing epitomizes five of Geva’s core values – a commitment to excellence, providing exceptional service to artists, collaboration, community engagement and work of a national standard.”
The announcement received a great deal of media attention – take a look:
At the press announcement, County Executive Maggie Brooks claimed, “There is no question, the Geva Theatre has been a treasure in this community since 1972. Not many people realize it is New York’s biggest performing theatre outside Manhattan. What a point of pride for this community in so many ways.” Also at the event lending their support to this project were Mayor Lovely Warren and Senators Ted O’Brien and Joseph Robach.
For the past three seasons, Geva has housed its artists in an apartment complex in Gates. Moving them back Downtown, where the artists were housed until 2010, will ensure that they will be able to enjoy all of the urban life that Rochester has to offer with bars and restaurants, cultural offerings and shopping. The close proximity to the theatre means that Geva artists can literally “walk to work.” The new housing should help the theatre be an employer of choice and continue to attract the country’s top talent.
In partnership with Conifer, Geva re-purposed its historic home at 75 Woodbury Boulevard from Naval Arsenal to Convention Hall for the theatre’s use back in 1982, spurring redevelopment and revitalization throughout the Washington Square Park Neighborhood. While most of the development to date in the neighborhood has been commercial office space, residential and restaurant/retail development is now beginning. Woodbury Place is the latest development in the transformation of this gateway neighborhood.
The project is led by property owner and investor Eduard Nakhamkin, a well-known, Russian-born former art dealer who currently resides in Miami, FL. Mr. Nakhamkin purchased the property 8 years ago and recognized the potential for this unique corner of Rochester to be revitalized. He teamed up with Patrick Dutton, of Dutton & Company, and Luke Dutton of Dutton Properties, to develop and construct the property and to deliver a state-of-the-art, mixed-use redevelopment project. The development team also consists of Mossien Associates (architect) and Tim Poley of Blue Horizons Strategies (analyst).