A design firm on Thursday showed the Erie County Convention Center Authority’s board of directors renderings and video of proposed improvements.
The long-delayed, multimillion-dollar final phase of renovations to the historic Warner Theatre has been talked about for years.
On Thursday, a Chicago-based design firm familiar with the venue gave the Erie County Convention Center Authority’s board of directors a glimpse of what those $16.5 million improvements might look like.
Daniel P. Coffey, of Coffey Group Architecture, presented artists’ renderings and 3-D animation depicting the Warner work during an afternoon meeting at the Bayfront Convention Center.
Those improvements include a new marquee at the theater’s State Street entrance that replicates the Warner’s original marquee and incorporates many of its original elements, including stained glass, as well as an enclosed walkway and outdoor video screen that would both be affixed to the theater along French Street.
Coffey’s firm handled earlier phases of the Warner restoration and worked several years ago on a master plan and feasibility study for what is now Erie Insurance Arena. The firm is being paid a design services fee of up to $1.6 million for its work on the Warner.
“Everything we’ve talked about for years now has plans and images to go with it,” said Casey Wells, executive director of Erie Events. The Convention Center Authority oversees Erie Events, which manages the state-owned theater at 811 State St.
Wells said construction could start as early as this coming summer.
Erie Events officials have said the Warner renovations will create 13,750 square feet of new space, rehabilitate 9,000 square feet of existing space and increase the stage depth by 20 feet.
It will also add new rigging, an updated sound system, new loading docks, additional production equipment and a customized orchestral shell.
The enclosed walkway will extend from the Warner’s second-floor lobby along French Street, to the new orchestral practice/event space. Wells said the video screen could be used to “show Otters playoff games or performances at the Warner, right outside.”