Renovating Brook Run Theater would cost approximately $7.5 million and fit easily into the city of Dunwoody’s comprehensive plan, according to a new feasibility study from The Brook Run Conservancy.
“I am pleased to let you know that we are now certain that Dunwoody has a need for this facility and that there is significant support in the community for that need,” states Conservancy President Danny Ross in a Jan. 15 letter to the council.
The cost to construct a new theater at about the same size would cost $24.5 million, the feasibility study states.
The conservancy sent its feasibility study to City Council members recently and the issue is expected to come up at the council’s Jan. 25 meeting.
While Ross argues that there is support for renovating Brook Run Theater, he may still face an uphill battle from the council. In June, the city’s engineers did not favor renovation of the building because of the wear and tear it has endured since it was shuttered in the 1990s. Clearing out asbestos in the building, for example, would cost $14,500.
Ross went before the city council in March to ask for help in funding a $40,000 feasibility study to restore Brook Run Theater and said then there was strong support to do so.
Theater Design Solutions, hired by the conservancy to review options for the Brook Run Theater, states in its analysis that “The positive aspects of the existing location seem to outweigh the benefits of building a new theater in another location.”
Ross also states in his letter that the restoration of the historic Brook Run Theater “supports many of the long-range community goals specified in the Dunwoody Comprehensive Plan, including: growing the arts as part of what makes Dunwoody special; committing to maximizing resources through incentives and grants, especially targeting opportunities to promote unique development, such as adoptive use of buildings with historic value; creating and maintaining programs to support historic preservation and/or campaigning for grant dollars that award preservation dollars; and, supporting the arts and opportunities for cultural activities and events.”

The study also reported:

• The theater would be redesigned to accommodate 350 seats. There is adequate parking with more than 400 spaces available within one block of the theater location; only 120 parking spaces are needed to meet city code for a facility this size, according to the feasibility study.
• The conservancy is ready to launch a major capital campaign and seek funding through individuals, corporations, foundations, park bonds, historic preservation tax credits and grants.
• The conservancy is hoping a portion of the $4 million the city received from the DeKalb County Bond Referendum would go toward renovating Brook Run Theater. “Directing a portion of these funds will not diminish funds available from our $25 million budget for other infrastructure needs,” Ross said in his letter to the council.

Dyana Bagby is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers and Atlanta Intown.

2 replies on “Study supports renovation of Brook Run Theater”

  1. In this article it reports that Danny Ross stated…
    “I am pleased to let you know that we are now certain that Dunwoody has a need for this facility…” How can you be CERTAIN if you do not have any supporting data to make that claim? Does every city of 45,000 citizens need a 350 person theater? What interviews (besides with Danny) with local citizens were done to understand what type of arts they would like to see in our city? How do they feel about the City being on the hook, if Stage Door cannot seat two and half times there current ticket sales? But I bet Danny Ross has a magic bullet and its called a CVB tax…that Rep. Tom Taylor and Sen. Fran Millar won’t support. This is just another Georgia Music Hall of Fame…

  2. This article is incredibly misleading. The actual cost to rebuild the theatre is $8 million OR UP TO $20 million. The $8 million dollar estimate was an essentials only rebuild – including using things like used theatre chairs to save money.

    Other important pieces left out beyond the cost of building the theatre is keeping it afloat financially afterwards. The Stage Door Players are supposed to be the support fund here, but the study clearly cited that SDP would need to over double their play attendance (from 125 seats to over 300) and increase the cost of their tickets in order to keep the theatre sustainable.

    I have no doubt that the citizens of Dunwoody would support a theatre in the right location and time, but I am not convinced that this is the answer. The study and summaries felt biased and the information being put forward is full of half truths.

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