The Palace is a valuable architectural and cultural asset of this city, and the theater will be elevated – physically, functionally, and experientially – returning it to a level of grandeur matching that of its heyday and doing justice to its spectacular, unique interior and rich history.
The Palace Theatre and accompanying 11-story office building were designed by Milwaukee architects Kirchoff & Rose and built by the Vaudeville mogul Martin Beck in 1913. Entrance to the theater was through a series of lobbies at the base of the office tower. The theater that once held over 1800 seats, has two balconies, an unusually high and wide proscenium, and is decorated throughout with high-relief, baroque-style ornamental plasterwork.
In the effort to revitalize the Palace, the theater will be elevated twenty-nine feet. The move allows for the addition of over 10,000 sf of new front-of-house space, code-compliant and accessible circulation, back-of-house spaces for the theater both beneath and adjacent, as well as new retail space beneath the theater. The renovation will significantly improve the theater experience for theater-goers and theater staff alike.
The new entry sequence to the theater begins at street level on 47th street with a new 80’ long marquee and staging area. Patrons ascend via a series of escalators to the new grand lobby at orchestra level and enter the theater along the historic entry axis through the original doorways. The historic interior finishes will be restored, and the long lost decorative plaster balcony fascia and chandelier will be restored.
The structural and logistics team that successfully moved the Empire Theater on 42nd street in 1998 will be overseeing the move of the Palace. The theater, already enclosed in a rigid masonry box, will be surrounded and shored by a protective crate. Telescoping jacks will be installed beneath, the theater lifted in two inch increments while monitored continuously, and new structure installed.