The Paramount Theatre at a glance

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What: Paramount Theatre

Where: 123 Third Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

Renovation cost: $35 million

FEMA Reimbursement: about $21 million

I-JOBS Grant: $5 million

State and Federal Historic Tax Credits: $8.7 million

Project Timeline: Building floods June 11 to 13, 2008, causing $16 million in damages

• July 2008: Building stabilization and hazard mitigation begins

• March 2011: Building design complete

• August 2011: Construction begins

• Fall 2012: Construction complete

• Oct. 26, 2012: Ribbon-cutting ceremony

• Nov. 3, 2012: Gala reopening concert with Harry Connick Jr. (sold out)

Notable improvements: Seating; acoustics and lighting; concessions gathering spaces; expanded orchestra pit, stage house and wing space; loading area and back-of-house; exterior improvements, including refurbished marquee

Seats: 1,700, down from 1,930, to accommodate wider seat widths on main floor and in loge, and more space between rows on the main floor

Restoration goals:

• Minimize the impact of future floods

• Enhance the stage house function for all users

• Enhance the patron experience with improved seating comfort, lively acoustics and expanded gathering spaces

• Promote operational and production efficiency

• Respect the theater’s historic integrity

• Incorporate sustainable design strategies

• Find synergy between the Paramount Theatre and Orchestra Iowa building.


Project team

Paramount Constituents Committee: Jim Hoffman, chairman; Al Varney, Five Seasons Commission; Maura Pilcher, Linn County Historic Preservation Commission; Peggy Whitworth, Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation; Vanessa Rogers, formerly with the Downtown District; Robert Massey, Orchestra Iowa; Gene Felling, VenuWorks

City of Cedar Rapids: Rob Davis, engineering manager; Sandy Pumphrey, project manager

Ryan Companies, Cedar Rapids: Construction manager

Design team

OPN Architects, Cedar Rapids: lead architect for the project, responsible for overall design and coordination of the efforts of the following consultants: Martinez & Johnson Architecture, Washington, D.C., historic restoration; Schuler Shook, Minneapolis, stage design, auditorium design, lighting, etc.;  Threshold Acoustics, Chicago, acoustical design; Jeff Weiler & Associates, Chicago, Wurlitzer organ restoration; Historic Surfaces/ Anthony Kartsonas, Chicago, specializing in historic analysis and restoration of historic paint and plaster; KJWW Engineering Consultants, Rock Island, Ill.

Prime contract holders: Miron Construction, Cedar Rapids, general contractor; Nelson Electric, Cedar Rapids, electrical contractor; Modern Piping, Cedar Rapids, mechanical, plumbing, fire protection systems; SECOA, Champlin, Minn., theater curtains, rigging, pit lifts and platforms; Olympic Companies, Minnetonka, Minn., painting and plaster; Lindstrom Environmental, Cedar Rapids, remediation; Sound Concepts, Cedar Rapids, audio visual systems; Crome Organ Co., Reno, Nev., organ restoration; St. Louis Antique Lighting Co., architectural lighting

Source: OPN Architects,

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