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Akron Civic Theatre Getting $5 Million Toward Expansion Into Vacant Whitelaw Building

photo of Whitelaw Building
Sen. Rob Portman visited the Bowery Project and even toured the Whitelaw Building earlier this year. The space is slated to re-open in January 2020, as a smaller flex space for the Akron Civic Theatre thanks to Knight and GAR grants.

The Akron Civic Theatre is set to expand over the next year and add a second, smaller theater space.

The long-vacant Whitelaw Building sits next door to the Civic, and is going to be refurbished into a flexible theater space with about 200 seats. It’s part of an $8.5 million project that will also add outdoor parking to the Civic, and refurbish its grand lobby.

Kyle Kutuchief is the Knight Foundation’s project manager in Akron, and says the Civic is a key piece of downtown’s revitalization.

“Having the smaller performance space will allow the Civic to continue to be accessible to a range of community groups. And the increase in programming is going to be a rising tide.”

Kutuchief adds that the Civic construction will complement the Bowery Project, which will turn the remaining buildings on the block into a mixed-use residential, retail and office space.

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.