710 Main Theatre may get corporate name

April 16, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 8:56 AM EDT

By James Fink, Buffalo Business First

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710 Main Theatre may get corporate name

April 16, 2013 Updated Apr 16, 2013 at 8:56 AM EDT

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - With two bids and, possibly, a third in hand, the operators of the 710 Main Theatre are weighing options for potential renaming rights for the former Studio Arena Theatre.

Anthony Conte, Shea's Performing Arts Center president and CEO and 710 Main Street Inc. managing partner, confirmed that two bids were received by the April 12 deadline to submit naming rights for the downtown Buffalo theater. A third bid was still being crafted and Conte said the 710 Main Street Inc. board gave that bidder a few extra days to make the offer.

The theater, which went dark in 2008 due to a deep pool of financial problems that led to a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, re-open this past fall by the 710 Main Street Inc., a group closely affiliated with Shea's Performing Arts Center. The 625-seat theater, located at the corner of Main and Tupper streets, has hosted a few special performances including this winter's run of the Road Less Traveled Production's presentation of "Circle Mirror Transformation."

With audiences returning to the venue and with a slate of programming set for the 2013-2014 theater season, officials believe it is time to seek a new name for the theater that will help shed the history of Studio Arena's final days.

Bidders had to submit a $500,000 minimum offer for any naming rights but the rights will last during a negotiated period of time. Fees can be paid over time, Conte said.

Conte said the 710 Main directors will begin negotiations with the bidders and he hopes to have a deal in place before September's "Curtain Up!" celebration.

"Right now, we are just reviewing everything," Conte said. "We hope to move forward from there."

Conte said the board is comfortable with the theater either bearing a corporate name or one after an appropriate individual.

"That's all open to negotiations," Conte said.

Potentially, 710 Main Street could see 30,000 people walk through its doors during each theater season. Plans call for it to host at least five dramatic plays, each running for at least two weeks and having a minimum of four performances per week.

Organizers also see the theater being booked for special performances, private functions and plays presented by a wide range of local and regional groups.

Additionally, once the "Cars Sharing Main Street" construction project on Main Street's 600 block is completed this fall, the theater will have even more public exposure.

"As we move along, I can only see the numbers going up for 710 Main," Conte said.

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