Studio Arena One Step Closer to Re-Opening

September 7, 2011 Updated Sep 7, 2011 at 7:07 PM EDT

By Ed Reilly

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September 7, 2011 Updated Sep 7, 2011 at 7:07 PM EDT

(Buffalo, N.Y.) For decades, it set the standard of excellence for Buffalo theater.

But a nearly 4-million dollar deficit forced the curtain to come down on Studio Arena in 2008.

Now after sitting vacant for three years, there is real hope that the 600-seat theater will once again be in operation.

Shea's Performing Arts Center has entered into an agreement with a non-profit group, "710 Main Street Inc.," to operate, maintain, and program Studio Arena.

President of Shea's, Anthony Conte, tells Eyewitness News that a hurdle regarding mortgage holders has finally been resolved.

"The banks have turned over the mortgage rights to the building to "710 Main Street Inc." who will now take it through the courts and, hopefully, in six months, or so, have a deed for the building."

The John R Oishei Foundation has agreed to help provide operational funds and Erie County has pledged $50,000 for capital improvements.

The goal is to have Studio Arena re-opened under an new name by the start of the 2012 theater season.

It will be used as presentation theater featuring local and national plays.