Written by Cory Twibell Friday, 11 November 2011 00:00
Eagerly curious residents and performing arts advocates can start counting the days until the newly renovated Westbury Performing Arts Center at 250 Post Avenue finally opens its doors.
Theater owner Cyrus Hakakian, a fashion executive and real estate developer, and his brothers are confident the seven-year project will have an “enormous cultural impact” not only here in Westbury but beyond its borders as well.
The theater, originally built to function as a vaudeville site in 1927 before transforming into a movie house, will soon feature a Broadway-size proscenium stage with unobstructed sightlines for approximately 400 seats on the main level and 300 in the balcony. Hakakian hopes to house at least one upscale dining option, a coffee house and work-live lofts for performers on the property as well.
Regarding possible events for the venue, Hakakian sees live concerts and Broadway-style performances as the main attractions in addition to cinema-style screenings of classic films, live broadcasts of opera, classical music, dance and other special “one-time only” events.
Hakakian purchased the property at auction for $1.675 million following a flashlight walkthrough nearly eight years ago.
“All I know is once I stepped foot in this magnificent building with soaring heights and towering stage, I was hooked,” said Hakakian, who has now invested more than $8 million into the property.
According to Hakakian, the construction phase has created jobs and “injected some $3 million” into the village economy during the development stage.
Once fully operational, Hakakian said the performing arts center will create 28 full-time positions and he anticipates approximately 500,000 patrons to visit, ultimately generating several millions in revenue for the area.
Hakakian likens the opening of the performing arts center to those in Patchogue and Northport, citing downtown communities’ significant transformations once theaters open nearby.
Hakakian and his brothers plan on introducing producers, talent agencies, cultural arts organizations and special events planners to the site in the coming weeks as the theater nears its final stages of the renovation.