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A renowned Shakespearean theater company is taking a page out of a horror movie script rather than something written by the Bard in its long-stalled attempt to build a home in the battered BAM Cultural District — the plan appears to be back from the dead, its architect said this week.
“It hasn’t died!” said the architect, Hugh Hardy, talking about the troubled $59-million project to construct a home base for the itinerant Theater for a New Audience.
Hardy’s remarks to the Fort Greene Association on Monday night hinted at the soaring budget for the building, which started at $38 million in 2005, and the frustration that came from having the theater’s location changed twice by the city.
Later, he further explained the state of the project to The Brooklyn Paper. Though this be madness, there’s method to the plans, he said.
“It’s had a long history because of financing and having to change sites,” said Hardy, who replaced Frank Gehry on the project last year.
“It’s not ideal of course. Every project … has some sort of chronology to it and it’s all forgotten if you get it to exist. I’m confident because we’re so close to construction.”
Hardy and the city said construction would begin this December. Final renderings were not available.
“The city has been so supportive of this project, it’s amazing to me,” he added.
The theater for the company, which recently staged sold-out performances of Hamlet and Othello in lowly Manhattan, will be built on Rockwell Place between Fulton Street and Lafayette Avenue.
It was bounced from its original location in the heart of the so-called BAM Cultural District, on the triangular block wrapped by Ashland Place, and Flatbush and Lafayette avenues, after the Brooklyn Public Library dropped out of plans to build a performing arts branch in a glass-wrapped building by Enrique Norten on the same block.
Other projects in Brooklyn’s answer to Lincoln Center have faltered due to the recession, like a major mixed-use tower with 100 below-market rate apartments.
With other proposed buildings stalled all around this man-made cultural epicenter, Hardy said he feels lucky to be on track to break ground in December.
“That’s what makes this all the more miraculous,” he said.
Theater for a New Audience did not return calls in time for The Brooklyn Paper’s blistering online deadline.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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