Apollo Theater Wants to Grow Next Door

By Jeff Mays on February 14, 2011 12:42pm 

A rendering of a proposed expansion of the Apollo Theater. Retail space would be on the lower level.
A rendering of a proposed expansion of the Apollo Theater. Retail space would be on the lower level.
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Grid Properties

 By Jeff Mays

DNAinfo Reporter/ Producer

HARLEM — The Apollo Theater is in talks to expand into a lot next door, which has been vacant since 1985.

Grid Properties Inc. planned to build a three story retail complex on the site and was in discussions to sell the third floor to the Apollo, The Wall Street Journal reported today.

Grid Properties is the developer behind the Harlem USA retail project a block from the Apollo on 125th Street. The lot was formerly the site of Showman's jazz club.

"We have been trying to support [the Apollo] in any way we can so now it is just a question of whether they are able to get the funding," Scott Auster, managing director for Grid Properties, told the Journal.

The Apollo Theater Foundation plans to raise the $12 million needed to purchase the space. The Apollo would use the space as additional administrative space and to handle growing community outreach programs.

"We have had ongoing dialogue with the owners of that property, of course it would make natural sense for us to expand onto that site," said Nina Flowers, the Apollo's associate director for marketing and communications.

Since its 75th anniversary season last year, the Apollo has been working hard to expand its cultural offerings.

On Friday, the theater launched the Apollo Music Cafe in an effort to appeal to younger audiences with diverse artists in a lounge setting. A new exhibit displaying artifacts from some of the famous artists who have graced the Apollo stage was recently launched in conjunction with the Museum of New York City and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

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