PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Red House Entertainment was recommended by the Peekskill Paramount Committee to run the theater that was shut down in October due to financial woes.
Led by Kurt Heitman of Garrison, Red House Entertainment was one of three groups that placed bids to control the theater. Heitman is an Emmy Award winning former TV producer.
The Peekskill Common Council asked the acting city manager to perform due diligence on the entity they are interested in moving forward with for the potential lease and operation of the theater at the end of the meeting in executive session, but did not release the name of that entity to the public.
The other two bids were made by the Paramount Phoenix Group, led by Arne Paglia and Lincoln center jazz director Antonio Ciacca, and The Tarrytown Music Hall, which wants to make the Paramount its second venue in the county.
The three groups gave their pitches last week at city hall.
"Red House had a dynamic creative vision and program vision that was different from its competitors," said Jason Angell, director of the Peekskill Downtown Business Improvement District (BID). Angell led the group's presentation.
Angell said the group's idea of running events throughout the week was a plus, with Red Entertainment’s intention to offer live music every Friday and Saturday as a year-long draw to the downtown and themed festivals throughout the year.
"Even if people don't know who is playing, they will know there is live music on Fridays and Saturdays and family and arts events on Sundays," Angell said.
Red House plans to hold about 80 events the first year if chosen by the Peekskill City Council to run the venue, increasing to around 200 events the following year. The group plans to run as a for-profit and non-profit hybrid, using profitable shows to help fund arts shows. The group estimates about $1.8 million in revenue, with losses of about $370,000 in its first year of operation.
Committee members said they felt that the Paramount Phoenix group wasn't as financially viable since it planned to put more emphasis on less profitable performance arts. Committee members also said they worried that Tarrytown Music Hall would not have the best interest of Peekskill and the Paramount in mind.
The Paramount Committee consisted of Angell; Richard Becker, Cortlandt Council member and area surgeon; Mike Morey, a Peekskill resident and former Sen. Charles Schumer staffer; Kathy Talbot, Peekskill Common Council member, Brian Havranek, acting city manager; and Mayor Mary Foster. Foster said she supported the choice.
"Red House was the only one that got it – got how to integrate the Paramount into the business community," Foster said.
The Paramount Theater itself is owned by the city, and until recently was run through a board of directors, which has since disbanded. The Peekskill City Council will make the final decision in the coming days.
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