AURORA, IL – With a real estate closing last Friday, the former Waubonsee Community College building in downtown Aurora will soon become a regional destination arts center. As crews begin interior rehabilitation this week, officials are planning for a new era in the resurgence of the arts in the City of Lights.
“Downtown is evolving right before our eyes, and we are all eager to see what it becomes,” said Mayor Richard C. Irvin. “As the Aurora Arts Centre project moves forward, so does the progress of the entire downtown area. The opportunity to take vacant property and transform it into a multi-use complex provides a blueprint for future projects throughout our city.”
Vacant for more than five years, the former college is located directly next door to the Paramount Theatre. Invest Aurora purchased the building last year for $350,000 in order to facilitate the development of the Arts Centre. The 80,000 sq. ft. Aurora Arts Centre is a $35 million investment and the next major milestone in Downtown Aurora’s revitalization effort.
“We have been working to make this happen for two years and are excited to see construction begin,” says Tim Rater, Paramount Theatre President & CEO. “This is an important opportunity in making the performing arts accessible for every age and socioeconomic background, while contributing to the future growth of Aurora’s downtown.”
In partnership with the Paramount Theatre, the City of Aurora, and the Illinois Housing Development Authority, The Community Builders, Inc.(TCB)-a leading nonprofit developer of affordable, mixed-income and mixed-use developments-will transform two conjoined historic buildings into the Aurora Arts Centre, which will provide:
-Paramount School of Performing Arts (25,000 sq. ft.)
-Rehearsal space for the Paramount Theatre (8,000 sq. ft.)
-Restaurant adjacent to the Paramount Theatre (4,000 sq. ft.)
-38 affordable apartments specifically designed to support working artists
-Paramount Theatre guest artist apartments
“The Community Builders is committed to the continued revitalization of downtown Aurora, and we’re thrilled to begin the interior work on the Aurora Arts Centre,” said Will Woodley, TCB’s director of development, Chicago. “The center will play an integral role in bringing more jobs, more people and more economic and cultural vitality to downtown Aurora.”
About The Community Builders, Inc.:
The Community Builders, Inc. (TCB) is one of America’s leading nonprofit real estate developers and owners. Our mission is to build and sustain strong communities where people of all incomes can achieve their full potential. We realize our mission by developing, financing and operating high-quality housing and implementing neighborhood-based models that drive economic opportunity for our residents. Since 1964, we have constructed or preserved hundreds of affordable and mixed-income housing developments and secured billions of dollars in project financing from public and private sources. Today, we own or manage 11,000 apartments in 14 states. We are headquartered in Boston with regional hubs in Chicago and Washington, D.C.
About the Paramount Theatre:
The Paramount Theatre (ParamountAurora.com), 23 E. Galena Blvd. in the heart of downtown Aurora, is the center for performing arts, entertainment and arts education in the second largest city in Illinois. The 1,888-seat Paramount Theatre is nationally renowned for the quality and caliber of its presentations, historic beauty and superb acoustics. The Paramount Theatre is one of three live performance venues programmed and managed by the ACCA, which also oversees the Paramount’s “sister” stage, the intimate, 173-seat Copley Theatre located directly across the street from the Paramount at 8 E. Galena Blvd., as well as RiverEdge Park, downtown Aurora’s summer outdoor concert venue at 360 N. Broadway.
About the City of Aurora:
Located 35 miles west of Chicago, Aurora is the second largest city in Illinois with a population of 200,456. Aurora is known as the “City of Lights” because it was one of the first in the nation to illuminate its streets with electric lights. Situated along the Fox River and the Ronald Reagan Memorial Tollway (Interstate 88), the city extends 46 square miles encompassing Kane, DuPage, Kendall and Will counties. Aurora also is home to six public school districts and seven townships. For the latest news, access to an archive of past news releases or to follow the city on Facebook or Twitter, visit the city’s website at www.aurora-il.org.