Virginia Repertory Theatre’s plan to take the stage in Northside took a step forward this week.
The Richmond Planning Commission voted Monday to recommend approval of a special-use permit that would allow the nonprofit theater group to hold performances and other programming at the Scottish Rite Temple property at 4204 Hermitage Road.
The building, which Virginia Rep has under contract, is more than 45,000 square feet and features a 650-seat theater, 450-seat banquet hall and a commercial kitchen, according to the SUP application. The property also has a 4,500-square-foot office building on site.
It’s unclear how much Virginia Rep will pay to acquire the property, or when the deal is expected to close. Virginia Rep declined to comment on Monday. The property was listed at $3.5 million.
The Freemasons group that owns the temple directed questions to their listing agent, Sam Dunn of OakStone Properties, who declined to comment Monday. The Scottish Rite is one of two primary branches of the Freemasons in the United States.
The SUP proposal now goes to the City Council for a vote next week.
Programming at what’s shaping up to be Virginia Rep’s latest venue would be geared toward children- and family-focused performances and activities. The venue would also use the property’s commercial kitchen and banquet hall to serve as a rentable dining hall, according to the SUP application.
In addition to live performances, Virginia Rep would hold after-school theater classes, theater camps and other programming there. The Hermitage Road property would also be the base for Virginia Rep’s community health and wellness programs.
Virginia Rep doesn’t have plans to change the exterior of the assembly building, which was built in the late 1960s. The property was most recently valued at $5.4 million, according to online city property records.
Virginia Rep operates the November Theatre at 114 W. Broad St. in downtown Richmond as well as The Theatre Gym in that same building. The group also performs at Hanover Tavern in Hanover County. It previously operated its Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn before closing that venue in October.
After the pandemic put a stop to live performances, Virginia Rep restarted its live performances in the summer.
The nonprofit reported total revenues of $4.5 million and total expenses of $5.1 million in fiscal year 2020, according to tax filings.