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    Posted November 4, 2011

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New York Audition Center to be Relocated, Renovated

Plans are underway to give the Audition Center, located in Equity's New York home in the heart of Times Square, a new look and more modern space. The Audition Center will be moved to another floor in 165 West 46th Street, the current home of the Audition Center and the National and Eastern Region Equity offices. The relocation will provide much-needed upgrades and improvements to the Audition Center and is sure to receive rave reviews when it's completed in 2013. Until then, the Audition Center will remain open in its current location.

The announcement comes as a new agreement is inked between Equity and Newmark & Company, the property landlord of the 165 West 46 Street building (known universally as the "Equity Building"), for renovations and relocation of the Audition Center and some of Equity's National and Eastern Region offices.

Primary to the agreement is the relocation of the Audition Center to another floor. The overall design aesthetics for the new Audition Center will be modern, clean and welcoming. It will boast sound proof/sound attenuated rooms, and a room with a sprung floor for dance auditions. Designs are under discussion and it is anticipated that plans will include a variety of space types and facilities to enhance the audition experience and preparation, paying special attention to the unique needs and requirements of our members as they audition for new roles.

The agreement with Newmark also includes an evaluation of the office space currently occupied by Equity's National and Eastern Region offices. The findings of the evaluation will determine optimum office space configuration and may result in the relocation of some offices to current or newly acquired space. Any moves and upgrades that occur as a result of the Audition Center move will be at no additional cost to Equity. In addition, a study is underway to identify the foot traffic patterns and elevator usage to Equity offices and the Audition Center.

According to Steve DiPaola, Equity's Assistant Executive Director of Finance and Administration, "This is an unprecedented agreement that will result in a brand new Audition Center and newly renovated office space without cost to the Association and its members. We are in the initial stages of this project but the result will be a wonderful new Audition Center and office space."

Equity President Nick Wyman said: "As we were grappling with the necessity of a six-figure renovation of our currently-shabby Audition Center, along comes our landlord with the offer of a no-cost new Audition Center and an increased income stream from our rent-roll participation. Even our cautious Council only needed an hour of looking in this gift horse's mouth before deciding it was a Derby winner."

All of this occurs against the backdrop of an anticipated expansion of retail space in the Equity building. The lucrative Times Square market has become a mecca for retail stores because of the large number of Broadway theatregoers and the international and domestic tourist trade. Since Equity owns the land on which the building sits, as part of its long-term agreement with Newmark, Equity will share in the monetary benefit of additional retail space that will eventually occupy space in the building. In the end, the renovations and relocation of the Audition Center and the offices will provide a new revenue stream for the Union.

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