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Tarrytown Music Hall among 3 vying for Paramount takeover
The Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill might get a boost from a neighbor 17 miles south on Route 9: Tarrytown Music Hall.
According to a Peekskill city statement issued Tuesday morning, the Music Hall's executives are among three groups to submit plans to lease, operate and manage the Peekskill theater, which suspended operations Oct. 4.
The other two groups vying to take over the 960-seat theater, which is owned by the city, are The Paramount Phoenix Group and Red House Entertainment.
The three groups are expected to make presentations at a public Common Council meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at City Hall (840 Main St., Peekskill, 914-737-3400, www.cityofpeekskill.com).
No additional information about The Paramount Phoenix Group or Red House Entertainment — including who is behind those proposals — will be revealed until that Feb. 13 meeting, according to Peekskill spokesman Bob Knight.
Tarrytown Music Hall's executive director, Björn Olsson, told Newsday Westchester early Tuesday afternoon that his group was "excited about the prospect of trying to get the Paramount reopened, if that invite should come."
Consisting of elected officials, business leaders and community members, the Paramount Proposal Review Committee spent recent weeks reviewing the proposals behind closed doors. On Monday night, the city's seven-member Common Council, which includes Mayor Mary F. Foster, discussed the matter in executive session.
And it appears the city won't need to consider any other pitches. Rather than solicit new proposals to take over operations at the Paramount, Peekskill officials announced that they're likely to pick one of the three current plans.
"The review committee has vetted the proposals and recommends that the city can move forward. We will not need to solicit additional groups," Knight said in a statement.
Last year was tumultuous for the Paramount theater, which opened in 1930 as a movie complex. Less than three weeks after it hosted a Sept. 15 red-carpet gala to try to raise $300,000 for programming, the Paramount suspended operations indefinitely, citing economic difficulties, a dearth of donations and grants, and increased expenses. The Paramount's board of trustees filed plans to dissolve the nonprofit organization in November.
Built in 1885, Tarrytown Music Hall was almost razed in the late '70s to make way for a parking lot. But the nonprofit Friends of the Mozartina Musical Arts Conservatory saved Westchester County's oldest theater in 1980, paving the way for renovations that restored life to its exterior and credibility to its interior.
Olsson, a board member on the League of Historic American Theaters, told Newsday Westchester he loves old theaters, adding that he hates "to see a theater with such strong roots in its community going dark."
He added that he'd have faith in applying the Music Hall business model to the Paramount.
"Big 'marquee shows,' mixed with community programming, will prove successful in Peekskill as well and could make a big difference in the ongoing work to revitalize downtown Peekskill and northern Westchester as a whole," Olsson said via email.
Which group would you want to take over the Paramount Center for the Arts? And when do you think the Paramount will reopen, if at all? Vote in the poll below and let us know what you miss most about the Paramount in the comments section.