Interior construction is set to begin July 1, with the Holly Theater set to reopen in 2023
Andy Atkinson/Mail TribuneOutlier Construction will begin interior work to restore the auditorium at the Holly Theater on July 1, with an opening scheduled for winter 2023.
The final act of a decade-long effort to restore the Holly Theater in downtown Medford is about to unfold.
Outlier Construction will begin work on the interior needed to restore the auditorium on July 1, with an opening scheduled for winter 2023. The bid from Outlier, one of four companies that submitted bids, is 6 millions of dollars.
“I was scared,” said Ken Silverman, chairman of Jefferson Public Radio’s board of directors. “I thought someone would come up with $10 million, given what’s going on in the construction industry.”
The bid, submitted by Outlier last month amid supply chain and construction cost issues, is still about $1 million higher than expected, but not enough to further delay the project, Silverman said.
He said that once the bid is successful, a value engineering process with the contractor could reduce some additional project costs.
Outlier’s work will take up to 12 months, but several more months will be needed to take care of a few final touches, including decorative painting, lighting, sound equipment and the installation of the 1,025 seats of the auditorium, making it the largest indoor room in the area.
Some of the artists who could play at Holly, located at 226 W. Sixth St., include Bonnie Raitt, The Temptations, Clint Black, Kenny Loggins, Art Garfunkel and kd Lang.
Jefferson Live!, a subsidiary of JPR, will manage the Holly, and it also manages the Cascade Theater in Redding.
The total cost of rebuilding Holly is approximately $12 million, of which some $4.5 million has already been spent to repair the exterior, including the roof, gut the interior, and restore the front section of the building. Jefferson Live! has its offices at the front.
So far, 3,000 donations have been received to help with restoration efforts.
Silverman said the Holly was still coy about $2 million, but he hopes naming rights and other donations could help bring in the remaining dollars.
Naming rights have already been secured for various parts of the theater, including 70% of the seats.
The remaining naming rights include $500,000 for the auditorium, $500,000 for the stage, and $2 million for the building.
While the theatre, with its distinctive blade sign and marquee, would still be called the Holly, naming rights would result in a large sign placed on the facade of the building.
The 1930 building will feature many features that were not in the original theater, including an elevator, better access for the disabled, more modern and larger bathrooms, and a heating and air conditioning system.
The Holly’s local architect, Frank C. Clark, wanted to give local residents the illusion that they were floating on a gondola through the canals of Venice.
Opening to great fanfare at the start of the Great Depression, the Holly fell on hard times in the 1970s and 1980s and was in danger of being demolished.
But Art Alfinito, a local businessman, saw the building’s potential and had it listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 2011, the JPR Foundation purchased the building from the family of the late Alfinito, and efforts to restore the holly have continued in fits and starts over the years.
Silverman said the Holly will provide an important entertainment venue for this area and help inject additional energy into the downtown area.
“This is one of the most important projects in Rogue Valley right now,” Silverman said.
Contact freelance writer Damian Mann at [email protected]