GLOVERSVILLE - The steady progress of the Schine Memorial Hall's fundraising campaign can be seen in the window of the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, where a surge of new investors has lit the sixth in a series of stars measuring the effort.
There are 10 stars - four as yet unlit - on display in the window, with each one representing 10 shares of the 100 total available. The cost to invest is $5,000 per share.
The sixth star that was lit Oct. 29 represents that 60 shares have been sold, generating $300,000 toward the restoration of the Schine Memorial Hall. The ultimate goal of the "Schine On Gloversville" campaign is to earn $500,000 dollars for the complete restoration, said Project Manager Ron Zimmerman.
Schine Memorial Hall is being developed by a group of investors. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)
Zimmerman said the project, which started Nov. 30, 2011, has been organized into three phases, and Phase I has already been completed.
He said during Phase I, the group raised the funds needed to apply for a state Main Street Grant that will match up to $70,000, and it expects to receive the grant around next year. They have already had the building painted, a new roof put on and new awnings put on each storefront. He also said repairs were made to the rental spaces on the ground floor, and exterior brick work on the North and East side was refurbished during the process.
He said the renovations already done have cost approximately $200,000.
The seven storefronts in the large building are mostly rented, and the next step is getting the commercial space on the second floor ready, Zimmerman said.
He said Phase II will begin shortly and cover renovation of the 10,000 square feet of office space on the second floor. The first tenants of the second floor could move in as soon as six months from now, Zimmerman said.
The second and third floors of the Schine Building, also called Memorial Hall, now occupy the space where the 1,400-seat opera house once hosted acts that included England-born Harry Kennedy, a famous ventriloquist who died in 1894.
In the 1930s, Myer and Louis Schine remodeled the 29,000-square-foot building with an art-deco theme, developing the second and third floors within the opera-house space.
At the end of the third floor, they built a small theater for screening films and had a sprawling banquet hall with a vaulted ceiling that has since been partitioned and made into office space.
Phase III of the project is expected to begin in 2014 and will focus on the third floor, for which is envisioned residential or commercial use, Zimmerman said. Commercial use is more likely due to the limited parking on Main Street and the difficulty to get permits for multiple-use buildings.
"The ground floor is basically all retail," said Zimmerman. "The second and third floor will most likely be professional offices or different agencies."
The only access to the third floor -other than the modern elevator - is a staircase that goes through the Glove Performing Arts Center, where the Schines had their offices above the Glove Theatre.
Before the third floor opens, another staircase will need to be built, said Zimmerman.
The challenge now for the investors who bought the building from the Gloversville Economic Development Corp. is repairing the space without losing sight of its history.
Through the remodeling, the group plans to keep certain elements of the 1930s design, such as an art-deco restroom with a basketweave tile and film-noir-era doors with frosted glass windows and brass hardware.
With 60 shares sold at $5,000, the Schine-Memorial Hall LLC is more than halfway to its half-million-dollar goal.
"If there were several or one individual that believe in what we are doing, they could come forward with as much as $150,000," Zimmerman said.
For more information about investing in the project, call Zimmerman at 773-3350, or Sandy Maceyka at 736-5130.
Levi Pascher covers Gloversville news. He can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.