First Stage reconstruction starts soon

June 29, 2010

The effort to replace the original Village Theatre — the frontier-era relic known as First Stage Theatre — inched ahead last week.

Crews closed the sidewalk in front of the historic building, and detoured pedestrians through wooden scaffolding built adjacent to the street. The sidewalk closure runs through March 2011.

Plans call for the existing structure to be razed in coming weeks, and for a modern theater to replace the almost century-old building at 120 Front St. N.

A rendering shows how the completed First Stage will appear. Contributed

Traffic passes the temporary sidewalk June 28 in front of the Village Theatre First Stage building at 120 Front Street N., as extensive renovations begin. By Greg Farrar

Crews from contractor Foushée & Associates, a Bellevue builder, started to disassemble the building last week. Construction should start on the new theater in July, theater spokeswoman Michelle Sanders said.

The builder intends to incorporate wood and other components, such as the iconic sign, from the historic theater into the planned building. Executives intend for the First Stage building to be LEED certified.

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New, relocated businesses boost Issaquah economy

May 4, 2010

The local economy has improved since last year, but increased retail offerings and high-profile construction projects could help the city rebound in the months ahead.

Economic Development Manager Dan Trimble said the city had progressed beyond the economic doldrums of last year. Joe’s — the longtime sporting goods retailer — closed as the city grappled with dual real estate and building construction slowdowns brought on by the recession.

“In 2010, we started to see the economic recovery start to take hold,” Trimble told City Council members April 27. “We’ve had some new retail moving in, both big and small. Construction activity has been returning.”

Swedish Medical Center started construction on a campus in the Issaquah Highlands late last year, and Best Buy and Sports Authority will open Issaquah stores in the months ahead. Sports Authority will occupy the old Joe’s space, and Best Buy will fill vacant space in the bustling East Lake Center shopping complex anchored by Fred Meyer and The Home Depot.

Sports Authority should generate $85,000 to $100,000 annually in sales tax revenue for the city; Best Buy should pull in $100,000 to $200,000, city Finance Director Jim Blake said in a May 1 conference call with council members.

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Village Theatre picks up pieces after cold-related damage

December 11, 2009

NEW — 11:21 a.m. Dec. 11, 2009

A near-disaster brought on by old pipes and below-freezing temperatures brought the house down at Village Theatre First Stage Theatre building earlier in the week.

Crews started clean-up efforts Thursday to remove insulation frozen by leaking water, which then fell from the ceiling.

The damage claimed KIDSTAGE costumes, a soundboard and other equipment. Michelle Sanders, the theater spokeswoman, said theater managers did not yet have cost estimates for the damage.

The facilities manager discovered the damage earlier in the week after temperatures in the teens caused pipes to burst and prompted alerts from local emergency management agencies.

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Get your sweet tooth on at ‘Willy Wonka, Jr.’

April 3, 2009

NEW — 10 a.m. April 3, 2009

Come one, come all. Satisfy your sweet tooth with “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka, Jr. at the First Stage Theatre.

This musical features fourth- through eighth-grade students who were selected through a competitive audition process. The show is directed, choreographed and musically directed by skilled professionals and features professionally-designed costumes, sets, lights and sound.

Sarah Dennis (as Augustus Gloop) and the KIDSTAGE ensemble perform 'I Eat More,' in 'Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, Jr.' — By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

Sarah Dennis (as Augustus Gloop) and the KIDSTAGE ensemble perform the number 'I Eat More,' in 'Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, Jr.' — By Jean Johnson/Village Theatre

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First Stage to get ground-up reconstruction

November 24, 2008

Village Theatre is planning a $2.5 million replacement of its First Stage building at 120 Front St. N., originally built in 1913 By Jon Savelle.

To look at Village Theatre’s First Stage building, you wouldn’t immediately think it needs replacing. The facade at 120 Front St. N. is painted and in good shape, and the structure behind is hard to see.

When you do see the rest of the building, you understand why the arts institution plans to tear down everything but the facade and rebuild it from the ground up. Built in 1913 as a movie theater, the wood-frame structure is not supported by any kind of foundation, the siding and roof are shot, and the whole building sags.

A replacement will cost about $2.5 million, said Village Theatre Executive Producer Robb Hunt. Corporate and government fundraising is under way, with construction permits being the next objective. A public fundraising campaign has not begun.

Already, Pacific Rim Architecture has designed a new building, which will resemble the old one while incorporating modern systems, materials and flexible spaces. It will be environmentally ‘green’ enough for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Public meeting for First Stage overhaul

November 4, 2008

The Development Commission will hold a public meeting Nov. 5 regarding the Village Theatre’s proposal to reconstruct the existing First Stage Theatre.

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Nonprofits make pitch for funding

October 22, 2008

Much of the credit for Issaquah’s high quality of life must go to the volunteer and nonprofit groups who work all year toward that goal. But they can’t do it without a little help from the city.

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