City Beat

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

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.

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