By Jennifer Farnsworth
As much as Saratoga is famous for its horse racing, it’s equally known for its appreciation of the arts.
The transformation underway at the Universal Preservation Hall is testament to that. According to Teddy Foster, campaign manager for the renovation project, the entire Capital Region will be able to see, hear and feel that appreciation at what is promising to be a unique entertainment venue. It is expected to have a profound effect on downtown Saratoga.
“This hall, that already serves so many through so many events, will be turning into a spectacular theater that will seat 700,” said Foster.
The building will close in June and will most likely not reopen until the fall of 2018, she said, while construction continues
Foster said they have reached 90 percent of their $5.5 million fundraising goal. Four years ago, Foster formed a partnership with Philip Morris, CEO of Proctors Theater in Schenectady to move the project forward. Morris said as renovation happens, Foster will become the director at UPH, with programming, finance, marketing and other administration done by Proctors staff.
The construction project “will create a beautiful performance and community space,” said Morris.
Foster said the space will become a perfect spot for music events and cabaret-type shows. She said adding this element of entertainment to downtown will provide a piece that many are looking for.
“This allows a chance for many to grab a drink or dinner and then be able to walk to a concert or show–all downtown,” said Foster.
Foster said they anticipate the hall to bring in over 65,000 visitors in the first year alone. She said people can expect the same high-quality entertainment they enjoy at Proctors.