Legendary Experimental Theater Under St. Marks for Sale; Resident Company Looking To Buy

03/31/2011 11:33 AM |


The Horse Trade Theater Group operates the 45-seat basement theater Under St. Marks at 94 St. Mark’s Place, a mainstay of the Downtown experimental theater and performance scene since the 70s, and now a hot real estate opportunity. EV Grieves reports that in response to news that their space could be sold out from under (or above?) them, Horse Trade is launching a campaign to raise funds and buy the building.

The listing for the six-story building is $5.75 million, which Horse Trade hopes to raise through a capital campaign while continuing to book companies and produce shows in the space. In a statement to EV Grieve the company explained:

Despite the announcement that 94 St. Marks is now for sale, Horse Trade Theater Group has no plans to close UNDER St. Marks anytime soon, and all scheduled resident productions and rental contracts will be honored. Horse Trade also announces that they will be mounting a capital campaign in order to purchase the property themselves.

“Horse Trade Theater Group is poised for a wonderful expansion. We are looking forward to all of the possibilities owning our own space might realize,” said Horse Trade Artistic Director, Heidi Grumelot. Anyone interested in donating to Horse Trade Theater Group or taking part in the capitol campaign should contact office@horsetrade.info.

Buying the building might be the best solution for the company, which, according to the real estate listing, “is on a month to month lease.” As our own Alexis Clements wrote in a feature about the long-delayed eviction of the Ohio Theater from a space it never owned:

On an organizational level, institutions like the HERE Arts Center and Dixon Place have also embraced ownership rather than rentals in the hope that this will provide them with greater longevity and stability.

And of course the Ohio had a benevolent landlord on its side for years, whereas anyone could come along and buy 94 St. Mark’s and boot the company from the basement. Here’s hoping the capital campaign moves swiftly, lest we lose another historical space. (photo)