The National Guard Armory building was built in 1916, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Until 2013, it housed the National Guard’s Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 111th Infantry and 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, which traces it lineage directly to Benjamin Franklin, who formed the unit in 1747 to protect the Colonies in the French and Indian War. Seeing the possibilities in the vacant brick building for a reuse as a performing arts center, the non-profit Uptown! Entertainment Alliance began a successful campaign to purchase the building and restore it.

Uptown! Entertainment Alliance’s primary goal was to establish a sustainable theater facility to host a diverse mix of live theater, music, dance, film, and community events. To take advantage of The Historic Preservation Tax Credit program, the building was also to be renovated to conform with Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

The First Floor adaptive re-use includes a new 327 seat Theater with a 1,500 square foot stage, a Box Office, and an Intermission room with a full service bar. The Second Floor includes a Multi-Purpose Performance Room, a Green Room, with the Theater lighting/sound controls located on an existing Balcony. The Lower Level provides for an additional Function Space with a Green Room, Dressing Rooms, and new Toilet Rooms to accommodate the change in use. The building is now handicapped accessible with the addition of an exterior lift from grade to the First Floor, and a new Elevator to gain access to the Lower Level and Second Floors.

The design and construction successfully met the requirements of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

CLIENT

Uptown! Entertainment Alliance

LOCATION

West Chester, PA

STATUS

Completed 2016

PROGRAM

Historic Preservation

Adaptive Reuse Renovation

AWARDS

The West Chester Downtown Foundation | West Chester Historic Preservation Award | 2017
Preservation Pennsylvania | Public Impact Award | 2017
Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia | Grand Jury Award | 2019

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