PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- The Peekskill Common Council unanimously approved a plan Monday to enter into negotiations with Red House Entertainment to lease and operate the Paramount Center for the Arts.
“We have great confidence in the future of the Paramount, and we’re very excited to be discussing the lease agreement with Red House Entertainment,” Mayor Mary Foster said during Monday night’s meeting. “We think Red House will offer the best opportunities for our residents, the business community and the state.”
The council voted 6-0 in favor of making Red House the preferred operator. Councilman Donald Bennett was absent from the meeting. The Peeksill Paramount Committee recommended Red House Entertainment to run the theater Feb. 19.
Foster said during the meeting she has heard rumors that Red House would pay $1 to take over the Paramount, but she said those rumors were not true.
“Red House will pay rent,” Foster said. “They will pay it as a percentage of the ticket sales. And they will operate this theater at the best interests of everybody.”
Within the first year of operation, the group intends to hold about 80 events and then increase that to about 200 events the following year, council members said Monday. Red House estimates about $1.8 million in revenue in its first year of operation, with losses of about $370,000. The group plans to run as a for-profit and nonprofit hybrid, using profitable shows to help fund arts shows.
Foster later added that there was still “a lot of work ahead” for the city’s corporation counsel to “hammer out the lease” but she believed the agreement was “off to a good start.”
Councilwoman Kathleen Talbot echoed Foster’s excitement.
“I think it would be great if people could just give this group a chance and try to be a little excited and positive going forward,” Talbot said. “People had their favorite horse and now that this horse has come in, it would be really nice to give these people a chance to show what they can do.”
Three bids for operation of the Paramount were made public in early February. The other two bids came from the Paramount Phoenix Group, led by Arne Paglia and Lincoln center jazz director Antonio Ciacca, and The Tarrytown Music Hall, which wanted to make the Paramount its second venue in the county.