Press Release - Building Purchase Update


NWCT Ends Effort to Purchase Historic Home

Friday, February 16, 2018

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As of Thursday, February 15th, 2018, the Board of NW Children’s Theater & School has reluctantly decided that NWCT will no longer pursue a plan to purchase and restore the historic NW Neighborhood Cultural Center. Effectively immediately, NWCT is ceasing all efforts to negotiate a purchase of the building, and is halting all work on a rehabilitation plan. The Board will immediately turn its attention to finding and securing a new home for the Children’s Theater.

NW Children’s Theater first moved into the historic NW Neighborhood Cultural Center in 1993, launching one of Portland’s largest and most celebrated theater companies, which includes a Mainstage season featuring 4-5 professional productions every year, Portland’s largest theater training program, and an educational outreach program which offers over 100 after school drama clubs and classroom residencies each year.

In 2009, NWCT took over the management of their historic home — through a long-term master lease which expires in 2020. In the nine years since, the Children’s Theater has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in building improvements, including: new fire alarm systems, new egress lighting, updating the building’s ancient electrical systems and pipes, and an extensive repair of the building’s crumbling chimneys.

The decision by NWCT’s Board to leave marks the close of a multi-year effort to secure a permanent home at the Cultural Center. Proposals on the table had centered on a plan for NWCT to purchase the 108-year-old church for a nominal fee, plus a commitment to fundraise and execute building improvements in excess of $10 million. These improvements included seismic strengthening of the unreinforced masonry building, roof repairs, and code updates throughout the building. This would have marked an ambitious capital campaign for the Children’s Theater, and NWCT had already secured a professional campaign consultant, as well as design concepts and cost forecasts provided by the highly esteemed architectural firm, SERA.

However, competing interests, and deep divisions within the board of the NW Neighborhood Cultural Center (Seller’s Board), complicated negotiations to the point where NWCT’s Board decided to walk away from the project. The Children’s Theater has decided to use the remaining two years on the current lease to identify and secure a new home. This move will have no immediate impact on current or upcoming productions (NWCT is in the middle of its 25th Anniversary Season); performances and class programs will continue as normal through the end of the lease in 2020. While mourning the loss of NWCT’s birthplace, the Children’s Theater is optimistic about the future, and will immediately launch an aggressive effort to locate a new building. NWCT appreciates the hard work and long hours all sides have put into this process, and hopes the work done so far will be helpful to the NNCC as it moves forward with its mission to preserve this iconic building.

Please see page two of the PDF to reference the Board’s official letter (Exhibit I).

WHERE: NW Neighborhood Cultural Center • 1819 NW Everett Street, Portland 

INFORMATION 503-222-2190

or on our website


Release Date: February 16, 2018

End Date: May 20, 2018

Media Contact: For inquiries, please contact NW Children’s Theater & School’s Marketing and Development Director, Nick Fenster at or at 503-222-2190 x 113.



Copyright © 2018 Northwest Children’s Theater & School (NWCT). All Rights Reserved.