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updated: 9/25/2012 3:43 PM

Buffalo Grove finally getting performing arts center?

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The Buffalo Grove Park District and the village of Buffalo Grove have discussed the community's need for a performing arts facility for about two decades.

Those discussions finally have begun to bear fruit, with the park district on Monday approving the $3.7 million purchase of the Congregation Beth Am property at 225 McHenry Road, district Executive Director Dan Schimmel said.

The park district plans to renovate the facility to create a 450-500 seat performing arts center that would serve as home to its theatrical productions. The center would typically host 12 major theater productions per year, usually running for three nights.

The facility, which officials expect to have ready by 2014, also would include space for dance studios and a fine arts studio.

"We're all very excited," said parks Commissioner Rick Drazner. "It's going to be a great addition to the community. We're looking forward to it."

Village trustees on Monday approved an amendment for the 5.4-acre site's planned unit development and special use that will allow its conversion.

Michael Schwartz, president of Congregation Beth Am, said the congregation will continue using the sanctuary until the fall of 2013. The Torah Academy, which is currently subleasing the Beth Am space, will stay until June 30, 2013.

Until work begins, Schimmel said, the park district officials will be touring other performing arts facilities, putting bid packets together and going out for bid for renovations, which will probably begin in July 2013.

The agreement between the park district and the village will include a provision for a review of the center's parking situation after it has been fully renovated and operating for a year.

A parking analysis shows that 131 parking spaces currently are available, but the projected parking demand for a performance theater facility is 160 to 200 spaces. The other uses, such as the dance and arts studios, would only require parking for 65 spaces.

Additional parking is available on the grassy area north of the building and First American Bank has indicated it will allow the park district to use the bank property on Friday, Saturday and Sunday during non-banking hours, Schimmel said.

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