Restoration of the Beaux Arts glazed terra cotta Sattler Theater at 512-16 Broadway has taken a step forward. Western New York Minority Media Professionals Inc. purchased the vacant landmark on Tuesday from Mt. Sinai, God’s Holy Temple for $18,000. The non-profit group intends to renovate the ornate building for use as its headquarters and a performing arts center.
“After much back and forth with the owners, we finally closed and took if off the City’s demolition list,” said Mike Quinniey of WNY Minority Media Professionals.
The group is working with theater restoration architect Craig Morrison, AIA on renovation plans. New York City-based Morrison is an architect, historian and author of Theatres, a Library of Congress book about theatres in America since the country’s founding.
According to Quinniey, what started off as a planned $1.8 million project is likely to exceed $4 million when work is completed. Though an exisiting conditions study showed the building is structurally sound, plans now include removing the rear wall of the building to install a state-of-the-art stage.
A steering committee has been formed to help guide the project and raise necessary funding. The Committee to Support the Sattler Theater Restoration is being chaired by 90-year old Violet Hill who attended shows in the theater in the 1920’s and 30’s.
Fundraising is expected to begin shortly along with asbestos abatement work.
Theater history from the Buffalo as an Architectural Museum website:
Another eye-catcher on the East Side is the striking terra-cotta frontage at 516 Broadway, near Jefferson. The architect, once again, was Henry L. Spann, probably in collaboration with his much-younger brother William T. Spann. John G. Sattler commissioned it. Yes, the same Sattler who was a local real-estate tycoon and the same Sattler who owned the late department store.
This 928-seat, $35,000 “fireproof” structure was built in 1914, on the site of the old wood-frame Casino Theatre. As far as I know, there was no stage, only a movie screen. In 1919 or 1920 the theatre changed hands, and it was renamed the Broadway. In 1922 the new management installed a Marr & Colton 2-manual organ. Later still the Basil brothers took over and renamed it Basil’s Broadway. In recent years it was used as a church (Joy Temple). Buffalo’s Forgotten Theaters: A few notes by Ranjit Sandhu, July 2002.
In 1995, Tyrone Christopher, Tony Jones, and Quinniey established Western New York Minority Media Professionals, a non-profit, professional media organization committed to promoting social and educational opportunities within the Western New York community.
NOTE: Do you have historical photos or information on the theater? If so, please contact Mike Q.
Photos Courtesy of David Torke at Fix Buffalo.