Peekskill Requests Proposals For Paramount Management

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Peeskill is seeking new management for the Paramount Center for the Arts. Photo Credit: Art Cusano

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. – The City of Peekskill has released the request for proposal (RFP) for new management for the Paramount Center for the Arts.

Respondents must submit 12 copies of the proposal, which includes two originals and 10 copies. Proposals are due on Dec. 19 at 11 a.m. and submitted to the City Clerk's Office.

Director of Planning Anthony Ruggiero said that when the Paramount closed in early October the city heard from almost 40 parties that were interested in taking it over

“A lot of people wrote in, a lot of organizations said they were interested but those weren’t the only people we sent it out to," Ruggiero said. "They were mostly people in the business, people who have or are currently running (similar) operations.”

The center was built as a 1,500-seat movie theater by Paramount Pictures and opened in June of 1930. Paramount sold the building in 1973, and was acquired by the city in 1977 on a tax default. It has operated as a performing arts center in various incarnations since.

The Paramount board of directors announced the closing of the venue on Oct. 3, citing operating costs as the reason.

The city owns the Paramount building itself but performances and operations are run by a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization that has also been responsible for the recent renovations of the theater.

The city will entertain proposals from for-profit and not-for-profit entities to operate the theater for a lease term subject to negotiation between the bidder and the city. The lessee will be expected to operate and manage the theater, will be responsible for obtaining all necessary permits, must maintain and clean the leased space and maintain all equipment and pay all utilities.

The new management must hold a minimum of 100 performances each calendar year including dance, plays and other live entertainment and must submit a quarterly activity reports and annual audit statement. The lessee must also accept the condition of the facility “as is.”

The successful respondent is expected to fully fund capital and operating costs of the facility. No city funding is available for renovation of the facility, but the city is willing to continue to maintain the building shell, which includes the exterior walls, roof and exterior windows and exterior doors.

Once the Dec. 19 deadline is reached city officials will begin interviewing applicants in January at Common Council work sessions.

The full RFP can be viewed on the City of Peekskill website.

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Putnam 1955:

This is going to have a terrible effect on the Downtown business owners, especially the restaurants who depended on the Paramount to bring customers they normally wouldn't have into Peekskill. There is simply no other attraction in the city that brings in over 1000 people in one night and I know from my own experience that those people are shoppers and spend money. This whole affair shows once again that the Foster administration has no regard for the merchants who are the backbone of the Downtown. It's inconceivable that they didn't know this was going to happen and they should have taken steps to keep the theater open till after the holiday season. Then again, that's really expecting a lot from a group that still thinks the answer for Peekskill is a new firehouse that will effectively destroy the central city once and for all. I hope that a solid private entrepreneur takes over like the guy who bought the Capitol theater in Port Chester. That whole area will be revitalized if that happens.

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