THEATRE PROJECTS

About the Charline McCombs Empire

The Empire Theatre was built in 1913 on the site of the former Rische's Opera House in San Antonio, Texas. Designed in the style of a European palazzo by architects Mauran, Russell & Crow of St. Louis, the Empire operated as a vaudeville house and then a motion picture theatre. The Empire's grandeur was prematurely concealed by inappropriate repairs to extensive flood damage in 1921. After a long, slow decline, the vaudeville house, turned B-run movie theatre, closed its doors in 1978.

Redeveloped as part of the neighboring Majestic Theatre project, fundraising efforts by Las Casas Foundation, a local non-profit organization, restored the forgotten luster of the interior of the theatre, and the venue reopened as the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in 1998 after $5 million in renovations. The 856 seat Empire is equipped with a flexible seating system on the main floor, providing the capability for theatre style seating, as well as adjustable platforms that provide both banquet and cabaret table seating options. The Empire is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is operated by ACE as self-sustaining performing arts facility and is home to a wide variety of programming including: intimate musical concerts, comedy attractions, children's theatre; and private uses including banquets, seminars, product launches and weddings.

About the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts

The New Orleans Theater of the Performing Arts opened in January of 1973 in Louis Armstrong Park, in New Orleans, Louisiana. After two decades of hosting world class theatre, opera, dance and musical performances, the City Council voted in 1993 to rename the venue the Mahalia Jackson Theater for the Performing Arts in honor of the famed and beloved New Orleans gospel singer. Hurricane Katrina ravaged the venue in 2005. Over 14 feet of water entered the facility damaging mechanical systems, dressing facilities and theatre equipment. Under the leadership of Mayor C. Ray Nagin, the 2,171 seat theatre was awarded new life by virtue of over $30 million dollars in repairs and improvements. Today, the Mahalia Jackson is operated by ACE and is the self-sustaining home to the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, The New Orleans Opera Association, The New Orleans Ballet Association, the Broadway in New Orleans series and a wide variety of performing arts attractions.

About the Majestic

Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, Texas, the Majestic Theatre was built in 1929 and was designed in a Spanish Mediterranean style by John Eberson for Karl Hoblitzelle's Interstate Theatres.

The Majestic is an example of ACE's ability to work within public, private partnerships — in this case the City of San Antonio as owner of the theatre, and Las Casas Foundation, a local non-profit organization, in a successful effort to turn the historic movie theatre into a landmark, modern performing arts facility. The $9 million renovation and stage expansion costs were raised by Las Casas during the 1980s and 90s, with substantial investments from the City of San Antonio, ACE and local philanthropies. The 2,279 seat Majestic is a National Historic Landmark, and is currently home to the San Antonio Symphony, the Broadway in San Antonio series, along with a wide variety of concerts and performing arts attractions. The Majestic has operated under ACE management on a self-sustaining basis since 1989.

About the Saenger

Built in 1927 in the Italian Renaissance style, the Saenger Theatre was constructed by Emile Weil, and cost over $2.5 million to complete. Situated on Canal Street in downtown New Orleans, Louisiana, the movie palace was the flagship of the vaunted Saenger Theater chain throughout the South, seating nearly 4,000 patrons. Over the years, the Saenger was New Orleans premier movie theatre, hosting first run releases of every major motion picture release in the nation. In a fate similar to those faced by cities across the nation, the Saenger began to suffer with the expansion and relocation of New Orleans residential communities in areas away from the central business district. This urban flight, combined with the advent of suburban multiplex movie theatres, caused attendance to dwindle at the venerable palace, which fell on hard times, eventually ceasing operations in 1978.

In 1981, the Saenger underwent its first major renovation and conversion into a multi-purpose performing arts facility. The Saenger Performing Arts Center became host to touring Broadway performances, along with major headlining musical, comedic and performing arts attractions, until the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, dealt the Saenger a crippling blow. The Saenger lost its roof to the winds and took on over 20 feet of flood waters, destroying the theatre. Over the subsequent six years, the Saenger has been the focus of a complex redevelopment project, combining the resources of the Federal, State and local governments. The Saenger Theatre reopened in September 2013 after a top-to-bottom renvation emphasizing an authentic, historic restoration enhanced by a state-of-the-art technical retrofitting. The theatre is a self-sustaining performing arts facility capable of attracting the very best in today's performing arts milieu. The Saenger is on the National Register of Historical Places.

About the Kings Theatre (In Redevelopment)

One of five "Wonder Theatres" opened by the Loew's Corporation between 1929 and 1930, the Loew's Kings Theatre was built as one of the most beautiful theatres in the nation, and was originally designed by architectural masters Rapp & Rapp. The Kings Theatre is located in the once thriving, yet still active shopping district along Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn. The Kings is currently in redevelopment, and is set to regain its status as Brooklyn's largest indoor theatre more than three decades after shuttering and being seized by the City of New York. The Kings is undergoing a multi-million dollar renovation designed to convert the spectacular, gilded movie palace into a state-of-the-art performing arts facility. The Kings will add vibrancy, quality of life, and an economic shot in the arm to New York's largest borough.

Once completed, the Kings Theatre will operate as a self-sustaining performing arts facility, hosting a wide variety of cultural arts attractions including music, comedy, dance, theatrically staged extravaganzas, as well as a variety of community and private uses including banquets, seminars, product launches and weddings. The Kings will be added to the National Register of Historic Places and the $94 million renovation is expected to be completed in 2015.

About Sugar Land (In Development)

Projected to open in 2016 in Sugar Land, Texas, the Sugar Land Concert & Performing Arts Venue will be a state-of-the-art facility, with a flexible seating capacity of up to 6,200 seats. This venue will fill a needed niche in the greater Houston marketplace, offering national concert and performing arts attractions, as well as family entertainment for the entire community. This destination attraction will act as an economic generator and attract visitors from Houston and the region to hundreds of annual events. Featuring comfortable seating, excellent sight lines, ample staging and loading areas, as well as generous parking, concessions and restroom facilities, the cost of new construction is estimated at $83 million dollars.