Fox Theatre releases economic impact report showing $25 million impact in 2014

By David Pendered

The Fox Theatre released today an economic impact study that shows the financial returns of the effort begun 40 years ago to save the theater from demolition.

Fox Theatre, night

The Fox Theatre was saved from demolition and created $25 million in economic impact in 2014, a new study shows. Credit: iranwatsonphoto.com

The study shows the theater’s 500,000-plus visitors a year created in 2014:

  • $25 million in total economic impact, excluding ticket sales;
  • 757 jobs;
  • $2.8 million in sales tax, in 2014.
  • The jobs category includes 62 full-time employees, 400 part-time employees and 800 volunteers.

In addition, the Fox spends about $1 million a year on maintenance. Since 1974, the theater has spent a total of $30 million on restoration and maintenance. The cost of replacing the theater is estimated at $300 million, according to the study.

In 2008, the Fox formed the Fox Theatre Institute to provide consulting services to other Georgia theaters in areas including maintenance and operations. The institute intends to offer, “financial assistance, restoration support, and operations mentoring needed to leverage scarce resources and stimulate local economies,” according to its website. The Fox Theatre has committed more than $1 million to support the institute, according to the website.

jeff foxworthy, kasim reed, valerie jackson

At the announcement of the 40th anniversary celebration, held in March, of the ‘Save the Fox” effort. Jeff Foxworthy Mayor Kasim Reed, and Valerie Jackson, widow of former Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson.

The institute has helped with the restoration of 10 theaters in Georgia, according to the economic impact study. Recent examples include Holly Theatre, in Dahlonega; Plaza Theatre, in Atlanta; and President Theatre, in Manchester.

The institute has provided a total of $215,000 in grant funding, which has leveraged an additional $322,000 in community investments, according to the report.

Grants are provided annually. Georgia theaters apply for funds and a panel of industry experts selects the recipients, according to the report.

Research conducted by the institute revealed that Georgia once had 374 theaters that could be classified as historic. Of these, 114 were demolished from 1950 to today. Of the theaters that remain, 100 are open and operating as theaters. The institute is currently accepting applications for the 2015-2016 cycles of grants.

The institute published, in 2012, Georgia Historic Preservation Handbook – A Layman’s Guide to Historic Preservation in Georgia. Partners on the project included Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division.

The 214-page handbook is available for free, from the institute’s website, and it provides a wealth of information on topics including preservation partners and guides on historic research.

The institute operates Georgia Presenters, a statewide booking consortium that has facilitated more than 100 events in 53 venues throughout the state, according to the report.

According to the Fox Theatre’s tax returns, the theater’s financial situation has improved since 2010. Here are the total revenues reported by the Fox on its tax form 990:

  • 2010 – $12.8 million;
  • 2011 – $12.7 million;
  • 2012 – $14.1 million;
  • 2013 – $16.2 million.

The Fox reported the following for revenue less expenses:

  • 2010 – $921,752;
  • 2011 – $ 173,896;
  • 2012 – $573,071;
  • 2013 – $2,841,588.

 

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow. David was born in Pennsylvania, grew up in North Carolina and is married to a fifth-generation Atlantan.

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