The Second City is doubling its footprint in Old Town by leasing the former AMC movie theater at Pipers Alley.
The new lease adds 25,000 square feet to their current 20,300 square feet and will allow the largest school of comedy in the world to add new classrooms, two student theaters, a screening room, a student resource center, a student lounge and bar, two large special events spaces, and additional space for the companies’ growing businesses.
The second-floor space at Pipers Alley first opened as a movie theater in 1991, and has been unoccupied since AMC went dark on May 26, 2011. The Training Center’s multi-million-dollar build-out begins immediately, with physical enhancements to include opening up the bricked-over 22-foot high window arches overlooking North Avenue and Wells Street.
“This will give the opportunity for more student performances in front of audiences, resources to enhance their education, places to work and collaborate, and program-specific materials and technology in classrooms,” said Andrew Alexander, CEO and Executive Producer of The Second City, Inc. “For our team, it's taking what's already a fantastic training institution and heightening it to the best experience possible for our students."
Long in the works, the expansion is in response to The Training Center’s desire to launch new and progressive programming while maintaining the high teacher to student ratio and enhancing the overall student experience.
With the acquisition of the AMC space, the Second City Training Center can keep its educational programming under one roof – close to its history and next to its professional theaters. Students on a professional track will get even more stage time, and with the growth of the overall student body, additional theaters can accommodate end of term graduation performances. The new Student Resource Center will give students an actual on-site workspace.
The space is expected to be completed and serving students by spring of 2015.