14th Street Playhouse gobbled up by SCAD for $1.9 million

More than half will go to foundation to help offset performance space costs

More than two decades after the Woodruff Arts Center scooped up the Midtown building that became the 14th Street Playhouse, the arts organization is selling the performance space to the Savannah College of Art and Design.

The arts center agreed to sell the three-stage space to SCAD for $1.9 million. The building at the corner of 14th and Juniper streets will house the university’s film and television degree programs, which both debuted in Atlanta last fall.

Once the sale is completed, the Woodruff Arts Center plans to donate $1 million to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. The nonprofit philanthropic organization will use that cash to create and manage a new fund to help theater and dance companies - “reflecting the types of organizations that historically performed at the 14th Street Playhouse” - as well as offset the costs of renting performance spaces. The fund will roll out later this year. Woodruff Arts Center’s proceeds from the sale will go toward designing programs with local artists across multiple disciplines.

“Using the proceeds of this agreement in this way speaks directly to the mission of the Woodruff Arts Center and is consistent with the original intent of the gift of the property,” Virginia Hepner, president and CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center, said in a statement. “It’s good stewardship of a community asset and the right thing to do for the arts.”

The Woodruff Arts Center took over the property in 1991 after the Academy Theatre, the city’s oldest professional theatre company, exited because of a slump in donations and renovation costs.

Since opening its Atlanta satellite campus in 2005, SCAD has steadily built its Midtown real-estate portfolio with properties located predominantly between 14th Street and south Buckhead. The college purchased and overhauled the former Equifax headquarters that hovers over the I-75 and I-85 interchange, the former WXIA-TV studios, the historic Peters House on Ponce de Leon Avenue, and other buildings - not to mention controversially absorbing the now defunct Atlanta College of Art.