Arlington County could absolve rent for Signature Theatre for the last two years as the company struggles to move past Covid-era hits to sustainability.
This comes a decade after the county bailed out the Tony Award-winning nonprofit theater company twice in two years: a $250,000 grant in 2013 to help it pay off its real estate and business taxes and a $5 million loan, at a 1% interest rate, in 2014.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) the Arlington County Board is slated to discuss a trio of loan and lease agreements with Signature that could set the stage for the local nonprofit’s long-term plans.
The Board could agree to forgive $414,725 in delinquent payments from April 2020 through June 2022, when production halted due to Covid and when its long-time leader stepped down following allegations of sexual harassment.
In addition, it could agree to renew leases through 2057 for its main stage at 4200 Campbell Ave in Shirlington and a nearby storage facility at 3806 S. Four Mile Run Drive. If approved, the theater would not pay rent on the main building until 2041. It would continue using the storage facility rent-free for the duration of the lease on 4200 Campbell Ave.
The loan forgiveness would provide relief as Signature continues to build back after Covid.
“The theatre temporarily ceased productions at the beginning on the pandemic, and upon reopening remained under limited capacity in adherence with state and local policies in place,” a county report said. “To date, Signature Theatre has continued to experience financial hardship and ticket subscriptions have yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels.”
Signature would still owe nearly $3.3 million on the loan that it inked with Arlington County back in 2014. The county struck the deal with the theater, which was struggling to make payments on a $10 million loan it took out to outfit the interior of its venue on Campbell Avenue.
At the time, the county also forgave Signature for $411,000 in unpaid lease and utility payments and agreed not to collect rent for the term of the loan.
The Sun Gazette reported in 2014 that theater leaders pledged these issues would not happen again. The Washington Post quoted then-County Manager Barbara Donnellan as saying the loan made good financial sense, while arguing again those who characterized the loan as a bailout.
The new loan terms include a new repayment method based on ticket sales. Signature would pay $5,000 a month until it sells 20,000 subscription tickets and $10,000 a month until it reaches 30,000 tickets sold.
Despite these economic hurdles, Signature has plans to upgrade the storage facility on Four Mile Run Drive, where the theater company put on shows in the 1990s and early 2000s, but is now a storage building dubbed “The Garage.”
The Board is set to review a new lease that permits Signature to turn the building into a prop, scene and costume production facility and rename it for a donor who has committed $3 million to fund the upgrades.
“We’re very hopeful that, if approved, the long-term commitment from the county and Signature will mean that we can move forward with raising the funds to conduct the renovation,” Maggie Boland, signature’s managing director, told ARLnow.
Right now, costumes, props and scenes are made in a 900-square-foot space adjacent to the Shirlington theater. It is a tight squeeze and not ideal for design work being done, she says.
“This will be really transformative for our production team and what they’re able to do,” she said. “It’s exciting for us because it’s such an important part of Signature’s history. The space lends itself to this work because it’s a big open space that will be perfect for our needs in the long term.”
In a report, county staff said they may return to the Board with plans to expand that facility. If Signature fails to operate the property continuously or to maintain its main building on Campbell Avenue, the county will be able to end the lease early.
A large explosion, heard throughout Arlington, has rocked the Bluemont neighborhood after a police standoff.
Good Monday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
Arlington County will kick off the New Year with the next phase of engagement on its forthcoming plan to manage its deer population. A study found two years ago that…
After 64 years of serving subs and pizza in Arlington, The Broiler has expanded into Maryland, per the company’s social media accounts. The long-time eatery, a local institution that opened…
About Latinas Leading Tomorrow (LLT): Latinas Leading Tomorrow is a dynamic 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering young Latina women through education, mentorship, and leadership development. We are committed to fostering a community of future leaders who will make a significant impact to the community.
Job Description: We are seeking a passionate and dedicated Part-time Executive Director to lead our organization into its next phase of growth and impact. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who can oversee day-to-day operations, drive fundraising efforts, and cultivate relationships with stakeholders. This is a 1099 position; Remote position with ability to attend DMV events; 8-10 hours a week; $35-40/per hour.
Oversee program operations, including educational and community initiatives.
Ensure compliance with legal and regulatory requirements, maintaining trust and accountability.
Develop and execute a strategic vision aligned with our mission and values.
Lead fundraising efforts in partnership with the Board Members.
Cultivate relationships with community partners, schools, educators, and donors.
Demonstrate strong leadership skills, fostering a positive organizational culture.
Communicate effectively with diverse stakeholders and make compelling public presentations.
Promote inclusivity and collaboration throughout the organization.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to