For the first time in more than a decade, the vacant Auburn Schine Theater saw major restoration work take place and significant outside funding secured. The historic downtown Auburn theater was chosen by city officials to receive $800,000 in federal funds to pay for the removal of asbestos and other hazardous materials, a step that has blocked just about any other physical work from progressing. In addition, the state has awarded a $1.2 million grant to move the project forward after the remediation work is finished.
A big development in the project came when the theater's longtime owner, the Cayuga County Arts Council, reached an agreement with Syracuse-based Bowers Development to establish a new ownership structure and put Bowers in charge of the work. Details of that arrangement are still being finalized and reviewed, but officials are pointing to a $6 million project that could be completed by October 2019.