Playhouse closes Meyer Hardware deal

Sets stage for new, yet intimate, performing arts center in Golden

Deborah Grigsby
dgrigsby@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 1/5/22

On Dec. 20, the Miners Alley Playhouse closed a $4.95 million deal to acquire the former Meyer Hardware building, bringing Golden closer to having its very own performing arts center.

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Playhouse closes Meyer Hardware deal

Sets stage for new, yet intimate, performing arts center in Golden

Posted

It’s official.

On Dec. 20, the Miners Alley Playhouse closed a $4.95 million deal to acquire the former Meyer Hardware building, bringing Golden closer to having its very own performing arts center.

MAP Co-Directors Len Matheo and wife Lisa DeCaro could not be happier—or more nervous.

“At first, it was like, ‘woohoo,’” said DeCaro of the moment they found out the seller accepted their offer to buy. “Then it was like, `Oh my God, we’re really doing this!’”

She said plans for the new center include the main stage area with seating for up to 300 people—about double that of the MAP, several smaller performance spaces, community rooms, classrooms, two lobby areas, a bar, and concessions.

So no more tiny dressing rooms and actors squeezed into narrow corridors awaiting their stage cue.

It’s no secret, though, the tiny spaces within the MAP forced the professional theater group to become creative.

MORE: Meyer Hardware closes

However, a larger building creates opportunities to serve more people in more ways, said DeCaro.

While the Miners Alley Performing Arts Center, as it will be called, will expand on the Playhouse’s current success, Matheo insists they will not forego the intimacy the community has come to expect.

“We are not building the Buell,” insisted DeCaro. “We are not building a big proscenium-style theater.”

While a 15,000 square-foot building may be larger, Matheo said it’s easy to keep shows feeling as cozy as possible by configuring the stage as needed.

“The Playhouse is known for its intimate space—a space that feels like you’re in your living room,” Matheo said. “It’s the very thing we don’t want to lose because people love to gather before and after the show, meet the actors, and hang out. It’s a real communal experience.”

But what he did say they are hoping to build is a continued sense of community.

“Meyer Hardware was a hardware store where everyone shopped, and many locals worked,” he said. “We’ve always felt that made the building sort of a meeting place, and we want to continue that tradition as a place that builds community.”

Although he admits it’s an ambitious plan, Matheo hopes to be in the new building by August of this year.

“Knowing that everything takes longer than it should, and everything costs more than you think, we want to build this in two big phases,” he said. “The idea is to get out of the old MAP space as soon as possible to cut expenses.”

The first phase would be something Matheo refers to as a “starter theater,” encompassing the build-out of about 5,000 square feet of the new building with a 150-seat theater to generate revenue.

“Then, we’ll start raising money to build out the next phase,” he said.

As the new performing arts center grows, the starter space will be repurposed as a rehearsal theater.

Matheo credits the success of this venture to the Schaefer family, former longtime owners of Meyer Hardware, and to the incredible community support that MAP has received.

“The support has been overwhelming, and honestly, people are on board with this project,” he said. “We have a whole community coalition behind us—downtown business owners, the Golden Downtown Development Authority, the Golden Civic Foundation, and On Tap Credit Union. Who knew people hated condos so much?”

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