On February 28, 2022, Florida Studio Theatre announced the plans for an ambitious new endeavor: The Mulva Arts Plaza. Named for lead gift donors Patrick and Mary Mulva, The Mulva Arts Plaza will include a new Mainstage Theatre, two new Cabaret spaces, 44 extended stay studio units for FST guest artists, 28 two-bedroom, two-bathroom workforce housing apartments for local arts workers in Sarasota, and about 200 convenient parking spaces for FST’s loyal patrons.
The project continues moving forward with strong momentum thanks to the generous support of early leadership donations and relentless focus from FST leadership.
Recent progress includes the following:
First, and most importantly, the architect and engineers are on schedule. According to the architect, we are now wrapping up the “Design and Development” phase and “merging the design with the practical engineering elements” and adjusting as necessary. As soon as this process is complete the architect will move to working drawings.
We have worked hand in hand with the City of Sarasota staff along with our consultant Joel Freedman. We are cognizant of the few variances we need, and while we cannot predict the outcome, together with Joel we are doing everything we can to build the building we envision in total.
The Capital Committee, together with the FST Board of Trustees, have decided to reduce the size of the building from 11 stories to 10 stories.
This will give FST full control of the parking garage rather than sharing it with the City and general public. Despite this change, recent estimates set the final cost at $50,000,000.
Finally, we are expanding our fundraising efforts, and with renewed focus are leaving no stone unturned in finding loyal FST enthusiasts with significant giving capacity who want to help us.
Our goal is simply to raise as much of the cost of the building as we can from philanthropy. Counting proceeds of about $8 million from liquidating our actor housing units, we presently stand at $28 million in cash and pledges raised for the building.
With the increase in costs and additional funds to raise, our timeline has shifted to accommodate. As you know, Florida Studio Theatre has a stellar history of financial stability and control. We do not expect to change our excellent history on this project. Therefore, taking a conservative approach to our timeline, we expect to break ground later than previously expected, most likely in late 2023 or early 2024.
It will take the efforts and support of every member of our staff, board, and generous patrons to be successful in this special endeavor. Our next semi-public event to unveil the latest iteration of renderings and other details is being organized for a nice evening in February. We will also be holding small, intimate salon events in the homes of our generous leadership donors, who will explain why they have committed to this project and invite others to do the same. Details to follow soon. Stay tuned!