The City of New York sold the one-story building to the company in 1987, but retained the rights to the developable space above it. Theater for the New City then undertook a major renovation program to create a three-theater complex on the main floor and in the basement of the former warehouse. That $2 million renovation exceeded the theater's budget and led to a lien in 1997 that threatened to close down the company.
The New York City Economic Development Corporation, on behalf of the City, issued a request for proposals for potential development of the building's air space. New City associates, a local development company, subsequently paid the City $680,366 for the development rights. In addition, the developer paid Theater for the New City $519,634 for lobby space and an easement to build through the existing building. The Theater has used that money to pay off the lien.
Each year, Theater for the New City presents 30 to 40 productions of new American works. It offers Arts-in-Education programs and an annual Free Street Theater Program in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs. The theater is located at 155 First Avenue, between 9th and 10th Streets. For further information, phone 212-254-1109.