Bay Street Theater, which is entering its 30th year, has officially found a location for its first purpose-built facility. The 15,000-square-foot Water Street Shops property in Sag Harbor, located at 22 Long Island Avenue / 22 West Water Street, will be transformed into the new Bay Street site, complete with several theaters and spaces, dedicated education facilities, and outdoor performance and public spaces.
“The creation of a permanent home for Bay Street has long been a goal for all of us at the organization, and I’m thrilled that, along with the Friends of Bay Street, we are able to build upon the work of our visionary founders Sybil Christopher, Emma Walton Hamilton, and Stephen Hamilton, to make that dream a reality,” said Tracy Mitchell, Executive Director of Bay Street Theater. “I’m incredibly grateful to Bay Street Theater’s Chairman, Steven Todrys, and the entire Board of Trustees for their support and leadership at this incredible juncture as we enhance the artistic contributions we make to the field and the home we provide to our wonderful community.”
The year-round, not-for-profit professional theater and community cultural center has rented its current home, 1 Bay Street, since its founding in 1991, but had been interested in finding a permanent spot for years. The .67-acre mixed-use property, which is situated adjacent to the John Steinbeck Waterfront Park, was purchased close to the listing price. It was on the market for $13.9 million.
“We are absolutely delighted that we were able to make a deal with Bay Street. We’re elated and proud to be a part of what will be an historic and best use of this terrific Sag Harbor property,” Enzo Morabito and Adam Rothman of Douglas Elliman, who represented the Water Street Shops, relayed.
Friends of Bay Street & Sag Harbor Redevelopment, a separate non-profit organization, was established to spearhead the project’s development, including land acquisition, financing, fundraising, and design. Friends of Bay Street will work in conjunction with the non-profit professional theater and its Board of Trustees.
“Today is a foundational next step in the history and ongoing trajectory of Bay Street Theater as well as for the Sag Harbor community. The location of the new complex will offer residents and visitors access to the revitalized waterfront and even more space for productions and community offerings, expanding the Theater as a hub for engagement and creativity,” said Adam Potter, Founder and Chairman of Friends of Bay Street. “Not only is the project an investment in the future of both Sag Harbor and non-profit theater, it allows Bay Street Theater to expand its role as a major cultural, civic, and economic resource in the region.”
Friends of Bay Street expects to break ground in mid-2021 and complete the project in 2023. The new venue will include several theaters, including a mainstage theater – of course, as well as a space for the organization’s year-round educational programs, center for new work development, a shop and scenery storage, special events, and professional development initiatives.
“Sag Harbor has long been an artistically vibrant and diverse community, and a home to actors, playwrights, and artists who we look forward to welcoming to our new purpose-built space,” said Scott Schwartz, Artistic Director of Bay Street Theater. “The past decade has been a time of momentous growth for the Theater, as we’ve welcomed award-winning performers, directors, and designers to our stage and mounted acclaimed productions of new works by writers including Alena Smith, Jonathan Tolins, Jules Feiffer and Andrew Lippa; and important modern plays and musicals such as Lynn Nottage’s Intimate Apparel; Grey Gardens, which is set in our community; and Michael Arden’s revolutionary production of My Fair Lady. Our new home will greatly increase our ability to continue to present a world-class experience for our artists, audiences and students while providing a new community gathering place for generations to come.”