April 23, 2012

Howard Theatre’s Re-opening is a True Community Effort

One of the “jewels in the crown of American cultural coolness.”  That’s how music legend Berry Gordy of Motown fame described it.  Not the Apollo.  Not the Beacon.  No, he cited DC’s Howard Theatre as playing such a vital role in our country’s culture.

The Howard Theatre reopened this month after an absence of four decades.  You know the joke: A tourist in Manhattan asks “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”  The native New Yorker responds, “Practice, practice, practice.” 

How did we get to a reopened Howard Theatre? Imagination. Collaboration. Dedication.

The stage will once again present things of beauty.  It is no less artful how the developers and funders were able to put it all together.  It took vision.  It took imagination.  It took perseverance.  No one could do this by himself or herself.  It took a village.

There were many instruments in the orchestration of this revival.  The project’s organizational chart looks like a page out of an NFL team playbook.  The capital stack is quite impressive.  EagleBank served as project lender, but many within government and the community played a significant hand in funding the restoration.  Federal resources included New Markets Tax Credits and Historic Tax Credits.  District of Columbia programs included various grants, tax increment financing and state historic tax credits.

This is a project with which EagleBank is most proud to be associated.  It demonstrates our commitment to our community.  It also reflects our ability – and interest – in doing “Rocky Road” deals and not just “Plain Vanilla” ones.

I’ve shared more of my thoughts in an Op Ed piece published in the April 22nd issue of Capital Business/Washington Post.  The Howard Theater restoration is a perfect example of what EagleBank and this community is all about.  Congratulations to the many that put this project together.  Now we can all share again in the rich heritage that is Howard Theatre.