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Jose Luis Villegas / Sacramento Bee file

An artist rendition of the new B Street Theatre was on display at a 2013 fundraiser.

Sacramento’s B Street Theatre poised to get state funding for new venue

Published: Thursday, May. 29, 2014 - 8:15 pm

Another cultural amenity in Sacramento that has been in the planning stages for years is on the verge of taking a big step toward completion.

The B Street Theatre is scheduled to learn today whether it has received an $8.4 million loan from the state-run California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank to help finance the construction of a new facility in midtown.

That loan could pave the way for the theater to secure $5.5 million in federal tax credits. And with that funding in hand, B Street officials said they would expect to break ground on the new theater facility in October.

“This loan is a big domino that we hope to push over,” said Bill Blake, the managing director of B Street.

Today’s decision comes three days after the City Council voted to provide $350,000 a year to the Powerhouse Science Center for its repayment of a proposed I-Bank loan. The science center is seeking $25 million from the agency for the construction of a new museum on the banks of the Sacramento River north of downtown that has been planned for years.

B Street is planning a $14.3 million complex at 27th Street and Capitol Avenue.

The 45,000-square-foot facility would include a 250-seat main stage and a 365-seat stage that would be used primarily for productions aimed at children and families. Both theaters will be larger than the spaces in B Street’s current facility, nestled between an elevated railroad track and a city park.

Sutter Medical Center has donated the land where the theater is planned. The lot is currently used as a staging ground for construction of Sutter’s new hospital in midtown. Sutter is also donating $50,000 a year for 10 years to B Street, Blake said.

Blake said the I-Bank loan will be repaid with surcharges placed on tickets to B Street productions. He said the bank offers low-interest-rate loans and that B Street’s payments will average roughly $500,000 a year for 30 years.

Councilman Steve Hansen, who represents the central city, said the new theater complex would “add a tremendous amount of activity to the eastern end of midtown.”

He said B Street would act as a “bookend” to cultural amenities downtown, including Old Sacramento, the planned Kings arena and a Community Center Theater that is slated for renovation.

“It completes an entertainment, theater and arts district that will continue to make Sacramento a cultural destination,” he said.

Call The Bee’s Ryan Lillis, (916) 321-1085. Read his City Beat blog at

Read more articles by Ryan Lillis

About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at

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