Proctor’s Theatre, located at 82 4th St. in downtown Troy, is the only remaining movie palace in Troy. A seemingly abandoned landmark at the edge of RPI’s campus, Proctor’s Theatre is soon to be restored and used to further the revitalization of downtown Troy.
The theater was built in 1914 for high-class vaudeville performances by Capital District entrepreneur Frederick Proctor. In its day, the theater showcased stars such as Jack Benny, Bob Hope, and Jimmy Durante. In 1977, however, the theater closed for good, and was owned by the city of Troy after foreclosure.
In the early 2000s, an RPI subsidiary, Proctor Hotel Limited, purchased Proctor’s Theatre as part of Rensselaer’s communiversity efforts toward the revitalization of Troy. RPI planned to revitalize the city by restoring Proctor’s, using it both as a theater and for office space. When RPI brought in a developer who planned to replace the auditorium with offices, Troy residents organized a committee and carried an online petition in opposition—they favored a restoration to the theater.
Since then, RPI has invested nearly $1.5 million in the stabilization of Proctor’s and the stewardship of both Proctor’s and its neighboring building, the Chasan building. Yet, the Proctor’s building has been left mostly unused.
On October 24, 2011, RPI announced a new agreement with Columbia Development Companies to assume ownership and begin redevelopment of both Proctor’s Theatre and the Chasan office building, according to Director of News and Editorial Services Mark Marchand. This public-private project consists of three components: the redevelopment of Proctor’s into office space, the stabilization of the theater, and the redevelopment of the Chasan building into office space.
Past public-private projects of RPI include establishing Blitman Residence Commons, upperclassman on-campus housing with Columbia Development and the establishment of College Suites, and a graduate housing complex with United Companies.
Columbia will first convert Chasan into offices and will then restore the theater’s façade. Once the work—scheduled to be completed next summer—is done, RPI will become the anchor tenant of Chasan and will lease the building and relocate the Institute advancement team from its current location in the Hedley Building to Chasan to handle the team’s expected growth.
The $14.4 million project’s goal, which includes a $3.3 million Restore New York grant, is meant to continue efforts to revitalize downtown Troy.