Embassy reaches funding goal thanks to $1.7 million from Regional Cities

August 26th, 2016

By Kevin Leininger | News - Sentinel 

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) has approved $1,745,180 in Regional Cities Initiative funding for the Embassy Theatre, essentially meeting the $10 million goal of a capital campaign that has resulted in a new rooftop patio, two-story ballroom and other improvements to the downtown showpiece.

The IEDC noted that upgrades to the Embassy are part of northeast Indiana's "Road to One Million" plan and will enhance the theater's role as a key downtown venue for arts and entertainment. With the renovation of four floors of the former Indiana Hotel, which sat vacant for nearly 40 years, the Embassy will also now include breakout and rehearsal spaces, new administrative offices, classrooms, history center and improved public access and concessions areas. More than 80,000 square feet of formerly vacant space is being improved.

"Support from the Regional Cities Initiative allows the Embassy to expand, giving more people of all ages new opportunities to experience out vibrant venue," Executive Director Kelly Updike said in a statement. "Thanks to this final funding, the historic theatre will continue to welcome families for generations to come.”

"The Embassy Theatre is a vibrant part of downtown Fort Wayne and these renovations will continue to propel the area's cultural growth," Gov. Mike Pence stated.

The Road to One Million plan, which outlines a short-term goal of 38 regional development projects in 11 counties totaling $400 million in quality of place investments, as well as a vision for more than 70 projects and $1.5 billion in public and private investment over the next 10 years, aims to increase the region's population to 1 million residents by 2020. Northeast Indiana was one of three regions selected to receive state funding through the Regional Cities Initiative, which will allocate a total of $126 million toward 100 projects.