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Frank Gehry's New York theater complex moves closer to reality

December 22, 2009 |  4:38 pm

Signature 

Frank Gehry's involvement with the Atlantic Yards project may have come to an end, but another of the architect's New York assignments took a significant step toward reality today.

The off-Broadway Signature Theatre Company said that the city of New York was contributing $25 million toward a goal of $60 million for a new performing-arts complex. The new set of theaters will be part of a  59-story, residential building and hotel being built in midtown Manhattan, near the intersection of 42nd Street and 10th Avenue.

Gehry is designing the company's new space, which is expected to feature three theaters, rehearsal studios, a cafe, bookstore and administrative offices. A spokesman for Gehry said that the architect's designs weren't complete yet and were in the final stages of development.

The spokesman added that Gehry's design illustrations for the project would likely be made public some time in the spring.

The city is contributing $25 million to the Signature Center, as the complex will be called. The theater company said it had raised an additional $16 million for the project. That leaves $19 million left to be raised.

Gehry is only designing the portion of the building where the Signature will reside. The rest of the building will be designed by Arquitectonica, a Miami-based firm, and Ismael Leyva.

The Gehry-designed theater space is expected to allow the Signature to more than double its current audience. The company currently is located in the Peter Norton Space on 42nd Street near 11th Avenue. It has produced the work of such notable playwrights as Horton Foote and Tony Kushner.

The Signature Center is expected to be completed in 2012. The project was first announced in October 2008, according to a spokesman for the company.

-- David Ng

Photo: The construction site where the Signature's new home will reside. Credit: AP / Signature Theatre Company

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