Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

October 28, 2019

New York State Announces Groundbreaking for $9.5 Million Visitor Services Improvement Project at Saratoga Performing Arts Center

New Year-Round Education, Community Gathering and Event Space, Concession Areas and Restrooms Coming to Performance Venue

Project Builds on $18 Million in Investments Throughout Saratoga Spa State Park Under Governor Cuomo's NY Parks 2020 Initiative

Renderings Available Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction is underway on a $9.5 million renovation project at Saratoga Performing Arts Center, a world-class arts and culture destination located in Saratoga Spa State Park, to improve visitor services and add four-season event space. The project is supported by $8 million in private funding from Live Nation and Saratoga Performing Arts Center. New York State is providing up to $1.5 million in grants from Empire State Development and State Parks, awarded through the governor's Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

"For decades, the Saratoga Spa State Park has attracted visitors from across the state and around the world," Governor Cuomo said. "This project is another major step forward in the renewal of this great park and will provide needed renovations to the Saratoga Performing Arts Center that will further cement it as a critical economic and cultural driver in the Capital Region."

As part of this project, Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC) will undergo a complete replacement and upgrade of the existing concessions and restroom facilities. Two new concessions buildings will replace the existing tent structures, which have lacked proper security, infrastructure and storage space. In the center of the main plaza a new open-air covered pavilion will further establish a more park-like aesthetic, while restoring the original sight lines from the Route 50 bridge to the Victoria Pool.

The main concession building will include a second-story, offering year-round event space to support and encourage expanded educational programming, audience development and community engagement activities. The exterior facade of the upper level will include a glass and aluminum storefront design, allowing guests to walk out onto a rooftop terrace facing the amphitheater. The enclosed portion of this building will provide climate-controlled space for events, and the lobby atrium leading to the second floor will feature the rich history of SPAC as well as space for local artwork.

The second building will further improve the guest experience by adding new restroom and concessions facilities, and creating more open, useable space which will help further improve guest movement throughout SPAC. The existing infrastructure systems and utilities will be improved to support the new buildings and surrounding public space. Upgraded pedestrian walkways will improve access between the amphitheater lawn and the main plaza and provide easier paths for travel throughout the venue.

Saratoga Performing Arts Center President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol said, "Aside from being an economic powerhouse in the region - with an estimated $100 million in annual economic impact - SPAC is a cultural powerhouse as well, bringing best-in-class artists and companies from across all genres. With these series of infrastructure upgrades thanks to Governor Cuomo and Live Nation, SPAC is positioned to be a vibrant international cultural destination for years to come."

Live Nation Connecticut and Upstate New York Region President Jim Koplik said, "Live Nation has been able to bring some of the world's greatest performers to SPAC for the past 19 years and in celebration of our 20th anniversary in 2020, we are proud to be able to contribute to such a transformative project that will enhance the guest experience at SPAC. Further, the positive impact from this project will be felt for many years to come and we're thrilled to have future generations enjoy such an iconic and unique venue."

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "These expanded public-private partnerships with SPAC demonstrate how New York State excels in economic development projects that grow regional economies and add to the quality of life for New Yorkers and to the visitor experience at our unparalleled cultural destinations."

Commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Erik Kulleseid said, "For 50 years, Saratoga Performing Arts Center has been the go-to place for arts and culture in the Upstate New York. We look forward to working with our partners at SPAC, Live Nation to make Saratoga Spa State Park an even more exciting and welcoming place to enjoy the great range of performances for many more audiences to come."

Capital Region REDC Co-Chairs Ruth Mahoney, KeyBank Market President, and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, University at Albany President, said, "Saratoga Performing Arts Center is vital to our regional economy, bringing hundreds of thousands of people to the Capital Region to experience premier concerts and shows. These grants will provide upgrades that further support the region's creative economy, and we are proud to offer our support."

New York State Council for the Arts Executive Director Mara Manus said, "The arts are critical to economic growth and community health in New York State, and SPAC is a vital cultural force within the Capital Region. These game-changing improvements will build SPAC as an essential year-round destination, expand on its educational programs that reach thousands of local children, and create crucial opportunities for New York State's creative workforce."

New York State Executive Director of Tourism Ross D. Levi said, "SPAC is a crown jewel among New York State's art and cultural tourism attractions, allowing guests to enjoy live performances in a truly unique, world-class venue. We are very excited for the new improvements that will further grow its prestige as a premier destination for the arts."

The park improvements reflect Governor Cuomo's commitment to revitalizing the state park system as part of his NY Parks 2020 initiative. Earlier this year, State Parks completed a $1.75 million project to renew the SPAC amphitheater's aging balcony ramps and lighting with an elegant and safe entryway. The new railing system's contemporary aesthetic better integrates with the amphitheater facade which was upgraded in 2012.

Under NY Parks 2020, more than $18 million has been invested in Saratoga Spa State Park, including modernizing the Peerless Pool bathhouse, which consists of new facilities around the complex to improve the visitor experience - a one-mile paved accessible walking trail loop, a new disc golf course, a sensory pollinator garden and accessible, colorful and engaging playground. Other projects include opening the new Creekside Classroom environmental education facility, preserving the park's historic campus buildings and adding new pavilions, trails and playgrounds.

Senator Daphne Jordan said, "SPAC is a fantastic resource for our entire Capital Region community. Construction being underway for a $9.5 million visitor services project is great news, as it will further enhance the visitor experience at SPAC, which is a beloved cultural institution that enriches our special quality of life. I want to thank Live Nation, SPAC, Empire State Development, and the State Office of Parks for this continued strategic investment in SPAC."

Assembly Member Carrie Woerner said, "Saratoga Performing Arts Center is an important piece of our regional identity, offering world-class music, dance and art performances within the picturesque grounds on Saratoga Spa State Park. This project will ensure that SPAC remains a cultural destination for residents and visitors alike, and I thank Governor Cuomo for supporting this Saratoga County project."

Saratoga Springs Mayor Meg Kelly said, "For more than 50 years, Saratoga Performing Arts Center has been a key partner to our city's vibrant culture and tourism industry, and these new facilities - set against the backdrop of the beautiful Saratoga Spa State Park - will ensure that visitors and residents alike enjoy a world-class experience. My thanks to Governor Cuomo, ESD and Parks, Live Nation and SPAC for supporting this transformational project."