jakub | March 7, 2023

AMERICAN THEATRE | Lortel Theatre Buys Building in Chelsea


The new theatre space on West 18th Street in Chelsea. (Photo by Lucille Lortel Theatre.)

NEW YORK CITY: The Lucille Lortel Theatre has announced the acquisition of a three-story carriage house on West 18th Street in Manhattan. The building, which includes a 61-seat studio theatre, will serve as the organization’s new headquarters.

“We are excited to be able to continue Lucille Lortel’s legacy of supporting New York City artists and theatre lovers by expanding our physical presence and programming,” executive director George Forbes said in a statement. “This new space expands on Lucille Lortel Theatre’s mission to foster both new and established artists, increase awareness and appreciation of Off-Broadway, and create a larger, more diverse community of theatremakers and audiences.”

The new theatre will house a public cooperative working space for artists and office space, in addition to the studio theatre. Lucille Lortel Theatre anticipates that the space will open in 2025. The $3.5 million purchase of the space, which was secured by Denham Wolf Real Estate Services, expands Lucille Lortel’s real estate holdings beyond their recently renovated Christopher Street theatre.

“An arts organization’s real estate portfolio can be a powerful tool in increasing their influence on the local culture,” Paul Wolf, co-founder and president of Denham Wolf, said in a statement. “We’re proud to have guided the Lucille Lortel Theatre through their purchase of a new, multi-functional space that will diversify their portfolio and solidify their position as a bulwark for Off-Broadway theatre.”

The acquisition announcement comes after the independent film studio A24 purchased the Cherry Lane Theatre in the West Village last week for $10 million. An executive at A24 told The New York Times that the studio will present theatre and comedy shows at Cherry Lane, in addition to film screenings, and that the company does not yet know if it will develop new theatre works at Cherry Lane or present works developed elsewhere. Cherry Lane’s former owner, Angelina Fiordellisi, had originally agreed to sell the theatre to the Lucille Lortel Theater in 2021 for $11 million, but the deal fell through.

Prior to the announcement of the carriage house acquisition, the Lucille Lortel Theatre named playwright Caridad Svich and writer and director Michael Heitzman the theatre’s new co-artistic directors of new work.

The Lucille Lortel Theatre’s mission is to foster both new and established artists, increase awareness and appreciation of Off-Broadway theatre, and uphold fair and equitable business and artistic practices to serve a diverse community of theatremakers and audiences. Its programs include the NYC Public High School Playwriting Fellowship, Immigrant Experiences at the New School, the Lucille Lortel Awards, and the Internet Off-Broadway Database, among others.

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