VERO BEACH – Performers, directors and artists who work or perform at Riverside Theatre will have a place to hang their hats while in town at a project expected to be open next year, according theater officials.

Star Suites by Riverside Theatre, an actor’s housing project, will have 60, one-bedroom suites primarily created to accommodate out-of-towners. The project will include a center courtyard, clubhouse and garden terrace for outside gatherings.

“This Actors Village is a project that will lead the theater into our future,” said Heidi Waxlax, board of trustees president. “It is an essential component to secure the continuous operation of our theater. We needed to find a solution to the logistical difficulties faced by our staff and management who struggle to find adequate, affordable, and available housing for guest artists – a major component to our success.”

“Riverside is truly fortunate to have a board of trustees with not only the expertise to plan a project of this scale, but, also, the fundraising commitment to bring it to reality,” said producing artistic director Allen D. Cornell.

Riverside Theatre leases 25 apartments on a year-round basis to house artists. It also sustains a partnership at the height of the season with SpringHill Suites by Marriott when more rooms are needed.

With annual rental costs continuing to escalate rapidly, Riverside has been looking for a permanent solution to cover the theater’s needs of more than 10,000 room nights every year.

The rental housing market in Vero Beach has gotten very tight the last few years with short-term leasing unavailable at the quality level required. The theater, which rents at eight locations, functions as a hotel since it furnishes, cleans, and maintains each apartment throughout the year.

Keith Kite, a longtime supporter of Riverside and owner of Kite Properties, has provided the theater his expertise in developing the project that will help the growing needs. He helped with estimating the capital and operational costs and will help manage the property after construction is completed.

“Kite Properties is pleased to be working with Riverside Theater on their Star Suites project,” Kite said. “Not only will it serve the theater’s housing needs for actors, but will also be a welcome addition as an extended stay hotel serving the Vero Beach community.”

During select times when rooms are not being used by artists, they will be made available to the public.

LLW Architects Inc. of Memphis is designing the project with Kimley-Horn serving as the civil engineers and Proctor Construction as construction manager.

Funds are being raised with a groundbreaking expected in November. The project is expected to be completed by October 2018, in time for the start of the theater’s 2018-2019 season.

Star Suites by Riverside Theatre will be on the corner of Aviation Boulevard and Flight Safety Drive, adjacent to Historic Dodgertown and less than a mile from the Vero Beach Regional Airport Terminal.

Tax deductible donations or multiyear pledges are being accepted for the project and should be made out to Riverside Theatre Inc. For more information on donations for Star Suites by Riverside Theatre, contact Kate Gill at kateg@riversideheatre.com or by phone at 772-410-0481. For more information on the project, contact Raymond J. McGowan at raysr@themcgowans.com or by phone at 772-453-9524.

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