Auction provides new ownership for Studio Arena

May 9, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 6:46 AM EDT

By WKBW News
By Business First by James Fink

...
May 9, 2012 Updated May 9, 2012 at 6:46 AM EDT

After four years of uncertainty, the darkened Studio Arena Theater has new owners and a promising future.

The legal entity that forced the court-mandated foreclosure auction of the key Main Street building is the new owner of Studio Arena. The entity - 710 Main Street Inc. - was the expected and sole bidder for the 625-seat theater in the May 8 auction, at $2,056,573.

The not-for-profit entity plans on using the theater as a home for plays and other productions. The building's management and operations will be overseen by Shea's Performing Arts Center, although 710 Main Street Inc. is separate from Shea's.

Studio Arena, which closed four years ago after suffering a deep pool of red ink, is being eyed as a venue for both national and locally produced plays. The first shows are due to hit the stage this fall.

At the time of its closing, Studio Arena was $3 million in debt and ultimately filed for Chapter 11 protection in June 2008.

710 Main Street Inc. became the plaintiff in the foreclosure proceedings last fall when five banks assigned the delinquent mortgage to the entity. The assignment was a prelude to the pending foreclosure sale.

HSBC Bank was the lead financial institution. Others involved including First Niagara Bank, M&T Bank, KeyBank and Bank of America.

The theater will also be available for rent, officials said.

In its prime, Studio Arena had a national reputation for not only the plays that graced its stage but also the actors and actresses who performed in the theater. Among the actors who performed there including Jon Voight, Kelsey Grammer and Margot Kidder.

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