Athens Theatre Restoration
Jeffrey Ault – Restoration Director 2006-2009
The Athens Theater is a historic vaudeville house built in 1921. For decades it was the entertainment centerpiece for downtown DeLand, operating in various capacities. First presenting live shows and then for several years operating as a movie house. It even operated for a short time as an arcade. After some tumultuous years, the Athens finally shuttered in 1991. Not wanting to have the historic structure demolished, a non-profit group finally purchased it and restoration efforts ensued.
Unfortunately, several ill-conceived attempts to restore this historic theatre either failed or stalled and controversial management decisions caused the project cost to balloon from an initial $1.5 million budget. When Jeffrey took over the project in 2006, he inherited a $6.5 million dollar budget deficit. Through solid business and operation planning, professional staffing, fundraising, value engineering and redesign, Jeffrey brought the restoration project to completion in less than 3 years. On January 6, 2009 the historic vaudeville house once again reopened as a centerpiece for the city of DeLand.
For those contemplating restoration projects, a solid board, business plan and professional staff is necessary. Feel free to contact Jeffrey Ault for further details.
The final cost of the restoration came in at approximately $12 million with the majority of funding coming from city, county, state and federal grant sources.
Grants awarded included:
City of DeLand(CRA – paid $30,000 for 5 years/ ended in 2002) $ 150,000
Volusia County(paid $30,000 for 5 years/ended in 2003) $150,000
State Historical Grants
1994 (S5001) $ 30,000
1995 (SC603) $300,000
1997 (SC702) $250,000
1998 (SC902) $350,000
Total Historical Grant Funding: $ 930,000
State Cultural Facilities Grants
2001 (01-9008) 243,000
2002 (02-9006) 50,000
2006 (06-9024) 500,000
2007 (07-9027) 500,000
Total State Cultural Facilities Grants $1,293,000
Volusia County Echo Grants
2002 (02-14) $ 500,000 (491,755.15)
2004 (04-01) $ 242,000
2005 (05-10) $ 500,000
2006 (06-13) $ 266,245
2007 (07-05) $ 491,755
Total Echo Grant Funding: $ 2,000,000
2003 Grant (B-03-SP-FL-0146) $ 201,184
2004 Grant (B-04-SP-FL-0164) $ 298,000
Total HUD Grant Funding $ 499,184
SUBTOTAL GRANTS: $ 5,022,184
In addition to the Grants, the Historic Tax Credits awarded by Federal Government to the Athens Theatre in 2008 was $ 2,002,153
TOTAL VALUE OF GRANTS & TAX CREDIT FUNDING: $ 7,024,337
The remaining funding for reconstruction came from donations to the non-profit company that owned the Athens at the time (either Mainstreet DeLand or the Sands Theater). Donations included both CASH as well as substantialIN-KIND services and supplies. In 2008, a construction loan ($1.5 Million) was obtained to assist in the completion of the building. The Federal Tax audit for the Historic Tax Credit program awarded almost $2 million dollars (20%) to the Athens Theatre as a management fee.