Magazine article Dance Magazine

Creative Financing Keeps Pennsylvania Ballet Afloat

Magazine article Dance Magazine

Creative Financing Keeps Pennsylvania Ballet Afloat

Article excerpt

IN A MOVE to bolster its financial stability, Pennsylvania Ballet has finalized the $1.5 million sale of its headquarters to the Rock School, the 37-year-old company's official dance academy. The deal provides ready cash to pay off the mortgage and bills, and will provide PB a rent-free venue for seven years.

"Pennsylvania Ballet is not in the business of real estate," said Louise Reed, the board of trustees chair. "We've been distracted from the artistic mission by the building. Now, free from the burden of mortgage payments, we feel the relief."

The five-story building, purchased in 1987, houses six studios, administrative offices, and facilities for wardrobe, production, and physical therapy. The Rock School, which has operated with a separate board and budget since 1992, is also located there.

The building will be renovated this summer; the roof repairs, spatial reconfigurations, and installation of lounges and lavatories will be funded by a $1.5 million capital improvement grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Of that figure, $500,000 goes to PB for operating costs, and the rest to building repairs. Reed acknowledged that the grant, awarded to the school more than a year ago, got the sale rolling. "It was probably [former PB chairman] Dr. Milton Rock who came up with the sale as a way to retire the mortgage and tide us over. Milton was carrying the mortgage for the building. The idea had been in the mix for a couple of years. …

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