The transformation of the Pikes Theater from a closed, deteriorating building to a 400-seat regional arts center in Pikesville is expected to begin in a few months, according to officials of the nonprofit organization dedicated to the project.
Construction will begin at the 58-year-old, single-screen theater on Reisterstown Road as soon as the final $100,000 is raised to match a state grant of $500,000 to turn the building into a multipurpose arts center, said Aimee Adashek, executive director of the Pikes Theater Renaissance.
"We've almost matched the funds needed to get us to the $1 million point so we can begin construction," Ms. Adashek said.
She said the Pikes, which closed 14 years ago, will be a center for music, dance, theater and film. The facade will remain while the interior is remodeled. The enlarged lobby will include a visual arts area.
A campaign called "Take A Seat" has been launched to raise money for the renovation. For a donation of $2,500 or $5,000, a contributor's name will be placed on a theater seat and on a plaque in the lobby. Donations may be paid over three years.
Once considered an anchor for the Reisterstown Road corridor business community, the renovated Pikes will be a "centerpiece for the revitalization plan for Pikesville," Ms. Adashek said.
"Performing arts centers are very powerful economic generators for older communities," she said. "By helping to stabilize the business core, it helps to stabilize the residential areas."
Baltimore County owns the site and is leasing it to the renaissance group for $1 a year.
County Councilman Kevin B. Kamenetz, a Pikesville-Randallstown Democrat, has been working to widen and extend the dead-end DeRiso Lane into a two-way street running parallel to Reisterstown Road to ease traffic congestion and provide more theater parking.
"I think it's a great project," he said. "I think it will bring activity, people and a spinoff of money into the community, and that's what we need there."