Virginia Rep buys Scottish Rite Temple in Northside for $3.5M

The Virginia Repertory Theatre bought the Scottish Rite Temple at 4204 Hermitage Road for $3.5 million. The property features a 650-seat theater, shown above. (Photos courtesy of Virginia Repertory Theatre)

With a multimillion dollar deal wrapped up on Tuesday, Virginia Repertory Theatre plans to raise the curtain on its newest performance venue before the end of the year.

The nonprofit theater group purchased the Scottish Rite Temple property at 4204 Hermitage Road for $3.5 million, Managing Director Phil Whiteway said.

The temple, which was acquired from a group of Freemasons, will be rechristened the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education. It’ll be home to the nonprofit’s Children’s Theatre, which was previously in a leased space at Willow Lawn that it vacated during the pandemic.

The Northside property is also planned to be the site of theater camps and workshops for kids.

The temple site includes a 45,000-square-foot building with a 650-seat theater, a couple smaller studio stages, a 450-seat banquet hall and commercial kitchen as well as a 4,500-square-foot office building on a 5-acre parcel.

Virginia Rep plans to use the dining facility for special events. Among those events are planned to be character meals, a new type of offering in which costumed actors would dine with a show’s audience.

The group’s total budget for the Northside project is $5.2 million. The purchase price of $3.5 million is the lion’s share of the total, which also includes a $1.3 million reserve for any HVAC work or other renovations that may be needed as well as $400,000 in closing costs.

The funding for the project is expected to come by way of the group’s Great Stages fundraising campaign, which is dedicated to the acquisition and kicked off in May.

“We’re approaching the halfway point,” of the fundraising total, Whiteway said. “Already we’ve been fortunate to line up some key support.”

Virginia Repertory Theatre plans to name its new property at 4204 Hermitage Road the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education.

Whiteway said no major renovations were expected to be needed for the property in the near term and described it as essentially move-in ready. He said there could be future projects to improve the property but declined to provide details.

“We think of it as act one,” Whiteway said. “It is usable at this second. We’re launching performances this coming December.”

A performance of “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas” is scheduled to be the first production put on at the newly acquired theater, according to a news release. The property also is expected to be used for rehearsals for the nonprofit’s traveling productions.

The Scottish Rite site was most recently assessed at $6.2 million, per city online records.

Sam Dunn of OakStone Properties and David Kalman with S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. represented the seller in the deal. Kit Tyler and Tucker Warren of Commonwealth Commercial represented the buyer.

Earlier this year, Virginia Rep got a special-use permit to allow it to use the Hermitage Road property as a theater, which the Richmond Planning Commission voted to recommend in March. The City Council took up the recommendation and provided final approval later that month, Whiteway said.

Whiteway said the Scottish Rite Temple had been on Virginia Rep’s radar when the property first hit the market prior the pandemic, as Virginia Rep was on the lookout for a venue space to own for its children- and family-oriented programming. It ended up being the best option out of about a dozen sites considered.

“This one seemed to match up the best for our future needs. We felt like the time was right. There was a lot of study that had to happen as part of our own due diligence,” Whiteway said. “You need to control the space you operate in so you can work on your craft for years to come.”

Virginia Rep also operates the November Theatre at 114 W. Broad St. in Richmond as well as The Theatre Gym in that same building. The group also operates Hanover Tavern in Hanover County.

The Virginia Repertory Theatre bought the Scottish Rite Temple at 4204 Hermitage Road for $3.5 million. The property features a 650-seat theater, shown above. (Photos courtesy of Virginia Repertory Theatre)

With a multimillion dollar deal wrapped up on Tuesday, Virginia Repertory Theatre plans to raise the curtain on its newest performance venue before the end of the year.

The nonprofit theater group purchased the Scottish Rite Temple property at 4204 Hermitage Road for $3.5 million, Managing Director Phil Whiteway said.

The temple, which was acquired from a group of Freemasons, will be rechristened the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education. It’ll be home to the nonprofit’s Children’s Theatre, which was previously in a leased space at Willow Lawn that it vacated during the pandemic.

The Northside property is also planned to be the site of theater camps and workshops for kids.

The temple site includes a 45,000-square-foot building with a 650-seat theater, a couple smaller studio stages, a 450-seat banquet hall and commercial kitchen as well as a 4,500-square-foot office building on a 5-acre parcel.

Virginia Rep plans to use the dining facility for special events. Among those events are planned to be character meals, a new type of offering in which costumed actors would dine with a show’s audience.

The group’s total budget for the Northside project is $5.2 million. The purchase price of $3.5 million is the lion’s share of the total, which also includes a $1.3 million reserve for any HVAC work or other renovations that may be needed as well as $400,000 in closing costs.

The funding for the project is expected to come by way of the group’s Great Stages fundraising campaign, which is dedicated to the acquisition and kicked off in May.

“We’re approaching the halfway point,” of the fundraising total, Whiteway said. “Already we’ve been fortunate to line up some key support.”

Virginia Repertory Theatre plans to name its new property at 4204 Hermitage Road the Virginia Rep Center for Arts and Education.

Whiteway said no major renovations were expected to be needed for the property in the near term and described it as essentially move-in ready. He said there could be future projects to improve the property but declined to provide details.

“We think of it as act one,” Whiteway said. “It is usable at this second. We’re launching performances this coming December.”

A performance of “ ’Twas the Night Before Christmas” is scheduled to be the first production put on at the newly acquired theater, according to a news release. The property also is expected to be used for rehearsals for the nonprofit’s traveling productions.

The Scottish Rite site was most recently assessed at $6.2 million, per city online records.

Sam Dunn of OakStone Properties and David Kalman with S.L. Nusbaum Realty Co. represented the seller in the deal. Kit Tyler and Tucker Warren of Commonwealth Commercial represented the buyer.

Earlier this year, Virginia Rep got a special-use permit to allow it to use the Hermitage Road property as a theater, which the Richmond Planning Commission voted to recommend in March. The City Council took up the recommendation and provided final approval later that month, Whiteway said.

Whiteway said the Scottish Rite Temple had been on Virginia Rep’s radar when the property first hit the market prior the pandemic, as Virginia Rep was on the lookout for a venue space to own for its children- and family-oriented programming. It ended up being the best option out of about a dozen sites considered.

“This one seemed to match up the best for our future needs. We felt like the time was right. There was a lot of study that had to happen as part of our own due diligence,” Whiteway said. “You need to control the space you operate in so you can work on your craft for years to come.”

Virginia Rep also operates the November Theatre at 114 W. Broad St. in Richmond as well as The Theatre Gym in that same building. The group also operates Hanover Tavern in Hanover County.

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Lee Gaskins
Lee Gaskins
1 month ago

What a great move for a wonderful organization. Congrats!!

Chad J Harcum
Chad J Harcum
1 month ago

Congrats!

Nick Feakins
Nick Feakins
1 month ago

What happened to the Freemasons? Did they relocate to another facility or did that lodge close all together? As a member of a non-profit who has had to deal with similar issues, I am curious what they did with the proceeds from the sale.

Lucas Hall
Lucas Hall
1 month ago
Reply to  Nick Feakins

Per the RTD “ Richmond Scottish Rite Masons will continue to occupy the smaller office on the premises which houses the Scottish Rite Childhood Language Center and provides treatment for children with speech and hearing difficulties.”