Sheas Performing Arts Center is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is the anchor of Buffalos Theatre District. The 3,200 seat show palace was built in 1926 and fashioned after Europes ornate opera houses. Sheas hosted internationally acclaimed performers until the popularity of stage shows declined. The building was forced to close in 1975 and was nearly demolished due to its severely deteriorated condition.
In the early 1990s, the Sheas Guild leased the property and retained Kideney Architects to assess the building and site conditions. Kideney evaluated, through market-based analysis, steps to reinvigorate the performance theater. A Long-Range Master Plan prioritized building components to be addressed, focusing on features which would generate revenues to support continued renovations/restoration.
Kideney Architects has been the architect of record for several phases of Sheas restorations, starting with the stage house expansion. The projects focused on restoring Sheas to its original splendor, while upgrading the facility to accommodate Broadway entertainment. A brief list of completed projects includes:
Master Plan and Feasibility Study (1993) Main Street Marquee and Arched Window Restoration (1994) $13 Million Stagehouse Expansion (1997) Restoration of House Exterior (2000) Seating Reconfiguration and Wheelchair Positions (2001) Grand Lobby Door Restoration (2002) East Wall & Main Street Restoration (2003 & 2004)
Sheas successful restoration, together with an all-star line-up of Broadway musicals, brings much-needed business to downtown Buffalo. A 2006 study indicated that Sheas 2004 2005 Broadway season had a $52 million economic impact on the community.