Hyattsville Nears Last Stages of Turning Arcade Into Performance Space

Historic building may become public access performing arts space in the county's arts and entertainment district.

Hyattsville's Arcade building, hidden under a coat of mustard yellow paint, may become the city's largest public access performing arts space in the Prince George's County Gateway Arts and Entertainment District.

The nonprofit Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, which oversaw the complete gutting of the structure at 4318 Gallatin St., is awaiting final permits for facade work in the coming year, said Stuart Eisenberg, executive director of the organization.

The performance space, which also could be outfitted to function as a conference center, is expected to be the next big milestone in the city's quest to become a cool, edgy alternative to Washington, D.C.'s museums and theaters. Hyattsville has been courting local artists with affordable housing, studios and galleries and is making itself more attractive to visitors under revitalization strategies including the Gateway Arts District plan.

"You need something to make you different, to make you stand out," said Jim Chandler, the city's community development manager.

The CDC's management of the rehabilitation of the turn-of-the-century brick structure has "basically been operating from grant to grant," Eisenberg said.

The city has committed about $175,000 to the project and additional financing for design and development. The work has included overseeing environmental remediation, putting on a new roof and new steel framing.

A very flexible assembly area has been designed in the Arcade to hold more than 200 people, he added, which could host assemblies, meetings, conferences and performances.

The city is outgrowing the municipal building next door and could use office space in the rehabilitated Arcade, which was the Pinckney Memorial Church, then a silent movie theater, bowling alley and retail space.

Maryland provided funding to gut the Arcade building and replace the roof, Chandler said. More financing came from the City of Hyattsville Community Legacy Revitalization Plan, a community roadmap for planning, investment and development, he said.

The full Gateway Arts District Plan, designed to use arts programs as catalysts for commercial revitalization along U.S. Rte. 1/Rhode Island Ave., encompasses 

Mount Rainier, listed as the cultural center; 

Brentwood and North Brentwood, listed as art production centers; and 

Hyattsville, as the plan's economic engine.






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