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Group Hits $2.5M Fundraising Goal For Bedford Playhouse Overhaul

The Bedford Playhouse, pictured, which is in downtown Bedford Village.
The Bedford Playhouse, pictured, which is in downtown Bedford Village. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

BEDFORD, N.Y. -- The local organization seeking to transform the Bedford Playhouse's shuttered theater space into a non-profit facility announced that it has reached its fundraising goal of $2.5 million in pledges, which is to pay for the project.

More than 770 people contributed and the goal was hit by March 1, the group announced on its Facebook page.

"We are so very grateful to all of you who helped make it happen," the group added.

Meeting the goal came down to the wire for the deadline date.The goal was reached late last night, according to Wendy Ross, executive director for the group. She told Daily Voice that $2,500,076 was raised by 11:36 p.m.

The overhaul project entails removing an existing twin-room partition and replacing it with a large theater that will have around 280 seats and a smaller theater with about 90.

The group was founded by Bedford resident and movie buff John Farr in reaction to the planned departure of theater operator Bow Tie Cinemas, which closed in early January.

Building landlord Kenneth Horn, who owns the site through his company, Alchemy Bedford, agreed to the March 1 deadline with Farr. However, he previously explained that he will pursue retail usage for the space if he cannot get a theater tenant.

Horn, who is looking to replace rental income lost by Bow Tie's departure, explained that the it is needed to keep the property operational.

Asked about what will happen next, Farr explained that it will involve negotiating a lease with an option to buy.

Farr has been interested in a purchase option of the theater space, which would leave it under separate ownership from the rest of the Playhouse property. Horn has expressed interest in a deal, provided that it is economical.

Horn could not be reached for comment on Monday afternoon.

Before the pledging goal was hit, Farr brought up the possibility of phasing in the overhaul if a majority threshold of the total was reached. Asked for a follow up comment on Monday, Farr explained that it will not have to be phased, although the caveat is that this would be contingent with coming to terms with the property's ownership.

Since Farr formed his group last fall, he and Ross have worked on a campaign to promote their cause. Their group has an advisory board including actors such as Chevy Chase, Lasse Hallstrom, Lena Olin and Chazz Palmintieri.

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