March 7, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Unveils Complete Restoration and Redevelopment of Harlem’s Historic Victoria Theater

Governor Hochul Unveils Complete Restoration and Redevelopment of Harlem’s Historic Victoria Theater

Theater Includes Two New Flexible Performance Arts Spaces Managed by Apollo Theater Foundation

Reopening Represents Final Centerpiece of Broader Mixed-Use Cultural, Residential, Hotel, and Retail Development Creating more than 350 Permanent Jobs

Photos of the Theater Available Here

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the reopening of the historic Victoria Theater after an extensive, decade-long restoration, returning grandeur back to the century-old Harlem landmark. Today’s ribbon-cutting formally unveils the cultural arts centerpiece of a broader State-led mixed-use retail and residential redevelopment project at the site on 125th Street in Manhattan, which includes construction of nearly 200 units of housing, more than 100 of which are affordable, and a 211-room hotel – the first full-service hotel opened in Harlem in nearly a century and the tallest building north of Central Park. The cultural component, Apollo Stages at the Victoria Theater, features two new performance spaces with a combined seating capacity of nearly 300, that will be managed by the legendary Apollo Theater Foundation, whose landmark home is located on the same block as the Victoria.

“One of Harlem’s historic crown jewels shines brighter today thanks to New York State’s investment in its overdue and much deserved restoration,” Governor Hochul said. “The Victoria Theater is not only a symbol of the Harlem’s past grandeur, but also a testament to its current vibrancy, and a guarantee that this legendary New York neighborhood will continue to be a cultural force – and with the Apollo’s support – launch the careers of some of the world’s most talented artists and performers.”

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The reopening of the Victoria Theater – and the broader mixed-use revitalization project – sets the stage for Harlem’s continued renaissance as a world-renown cultural destination drawing visitors from around the globe. This project successfully utilized Harlem’s historic legacy and transformed it into a modern, dynamic, thriving development that will drive local job creation and economic growth on 125th Street for years to come.”

New York State’s investment in the restoration of the Victoria Theater ensured it retained its distinctive features, including its 125th Street façade, front entryways, vertical blade sign, lighted marquee, ticket booth, lobby, and foyer. The lobby will house ongoing education exhibits promoting the history of the Theater and its role as part of Harlem’s “Opera Row.”

The launch of The Apollo Stages at The Victoria expands the legacy, prestige, and programmatic experience of the world-famous Apollo Theater into a new home on 125th Street. The Victoria’s 27,000-square-foot cultural space includes two new venues, that add 300 additional seats for Harlem-based performances and artistic offerings featuring an array of diverse voices, including local artists, artist collectives, and small and mid-size Harlem and NYC-based arts organizations. The cultural area of the project also includes back of house, rehearsal, gallery, and office space for Apollo and other cultural organizations, which will be owned by Harlem Community Development Corporation, a subsidiary of Empire State Development. The project was designed by Kostow Greenwood Architects.

Apollo Stages at the Victoria Theater is planning an extensive program that prioritizes community access, with opportunities for ticket subsidies, theater rental options, and artist incubator programs, as well as investing in the local workforce for job opportunities within the facility.

Apollo President and CEO Michelle Ebanks said, “As The Apollo celebrates its 90th year, the opening of the new Apollo Stages at The Victoria Theater signifies the beginning of a new era for us. With two new theaters, we are able to expand artistic opportunities in the community, but also the role we play here to artists and audiences alike. We are excited to strengthen our support to artists and organizations in Harlem and across New York while expanding our mission to amplify Black voices and opportunities for the next generation of creatives of color.”

Assembly Member Daniel O'Donnell said, "Today, we celebrate a significant milestone with the reopening of the Victoria Theater, a cherished Harlem landmark that has stood the test of time. This is not merely the restoration of a historic building; it's the revival of a cultural icon that has played a key role in New York's vibrant arts scene. As the Victoria Theater embarks on its new chapter, I am excited to witness the ways in which it will continue to shape New York City's cultural landscape."

Freida Foster, Interim Chair of the Harlem Community Development Corporation said, “The Victoria Theater represents the community's spirit of creation and perseverance. It is a landmark of significant cultural reverence that simultaneously represents the past, present and future of the artistic influence of the Harlem community and beyond.”

Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, "The reopening of the Victoria Theater – together with the mixed-use revitalization project – is a testament to the enduring spirit of Harlem. This iconic venue, a cornerstone of the Harlem Renaissance, has overcome incredible challenges to reclaim its rightful place as a beacon of culture and creativity. 125th Street continues to stand as a global destination for the arts, and I'm immensely proud to be a part of this historic revitalization."

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474-8418
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