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PACA Building Introduces Facade Project

March 6th, 2019, 12:00 AM

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The Performing Artists Collective Alliance's facade features windows that for decades have been boarded up at the five-story downtown structure.

That's about to change.

Work crews from Considine Biebel & Co., an Erie-based commercial construction company, on Wednesday are expected to start installing 33 windows at the PACA building, 1505 State St., as part of a $107,000 facade improvement project several years in the making.

The project at the 120-year-old building is funded by a $45,000 grant from the Erie Redevelopment Authority, $25,000 from the Erie Community Foundation and $37,000 raised by PACA, a nonprofit theater and performing arts center that rents studio space to artists and other groups.

PACA purchased the 70,000-square-foot structure in midtown Erie in late 2016 for about $230,000.

The new windows are historically accurate and fit the curved window spaces in the building's facade.

"Some of the windows have been boarded up for 30 years," said Mark Tanenbaum, PACA's founder, and president. "The biggest and most important thing is that this is a classic building. We want to be part of what's going on (downtown) and we wanted to put up new windows in sync with what the vibe of the building is. And natural light is very important for artists, so this better serves our tenants."

PACA raised money in a variety of ways to come up with matching funds for the project. Those efforts included a series of fundraisers in 2017 at the building that saw artists, collectors, and others fill a first-floor room with a plethora of items that were made available for sale, including oak church pews, pianos, trunks, lamps couches, mirrors, desks and a host of antiques and collectibles.

Scott Henry, the Erie Redevelopment Authority's executive director, said the authority's $45,000 grant came from a portion of the city of Erie's federal Community Development Block Grant funding and was designated for commercial facade improvements.

"Obviously (PACA) has made some progress with the building, we see the importance of that, so we wanted to support them and keep it going," Henry said. The window installation should be done in a couple of weeks, Henry said.

T.J. Sandell, the Redevelopment Authority's chairman, added that PACA "plays an important role in the dynamics of downtown Erie, adding invigorating life by bolstering art, theater and culture.

"Fixing the desperately failing facade is an improvement to the gateway of downtown that we can all enjoy," Sandell said.

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