Dad's Garage Theatre Wins Urban Land Institute Jury Award

The people have spoken, and our little chucklehut has been voted an outstanding renovation project in Atlanta! The Urban Land Institute (ULI), an international organization dedicated to championing cutting-edge and sustainable development, awarded Dad's Garage Theatre their 2016 Jury Award for best renovation in Atlanta. The award is for the transformation of a former-church into the "Forever Home" for Atlanta's most popular improv theatre. Dad's Garage purchased the property at 569 Ezzard in January 2015, following a Kickstarter campaign that brought in more than $150,000. That campaign was the most successful Live Theatre fundraiser in Kickstarter history, and received contributions from across the world.

Dad's Garage pulled off this feat through community buy-in at all levels: fans, funders, and family. The overall project came in at just under $3 million, and Midtown Bank offered Dad's Garage a favorable loan of $1,650,000 to purchase and renovate the property. The remainder was raised through individual donors and community sponsors including MailChimp, Delta Air Lines, United Distributors, and other traditional philanthropic organizations.

Pimsler Hoss Architects led the redesign of the church into a theatre, and Structor Group carried out the renovation during Summer 2015. The complete renovation required structural reinforcement of the building, creating arena-style seating in the main stage, adding a lighting grid, and updating bathrooms with "turbo toilets." Interior design was central to the renovation, giving the new space a youthful, artistic vibe.

The new performance space (formerly the sanctuary) now seats more than 200, features a professional lighting and sound system, and has a backstage dressing room for performers. The downstairs of the old church, which previously held daycare facilities and office space, was converted as well. This area features the newly-designed lobby, hangout space with full bar, and "The Bottom Shelf" - the stage for smaller performances. Throughout the theatre are murals and artwork created by local artists, including a "Mural of Saints" and bathroom graffiti, which were Kickstarter perks for donors. The new downstairs space also holds administrative offices for Dad's Garage, green room, and a rehearsal hall for performers. The "House of Dad's" opened to the public officially on New Year's Eve 2015/2016 with sold-out performances.

Dad's Garage is honored to be included amongst other finalists including Ponce City Market, Abernathy Greenway, Waterhub at Emory, Porsche Experience Center, Square on Fifth, and The Office apartments. The Dad's Garage renovation was much smaller in budget than these other projects; however, jurors said the impact and community buy-in for Dad's Garage set a new standard for renovation projects.

About the Urban Land Institute:

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 38,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines.

About Dad's Garage Theatre Company:

Founded in 1995, Dad's Garage Theatre Company has grown from a small volunteer led organization to a thriving mid-size theatre led by professional artistic and administrative staff that includes over 300 volunteers and performers. We now entertain more than 33,000 people each year in Atlanta, at public events across the state, and at improv festivals across the continent. In addition to outrageous original productions, Dad's Garage produces improv shows year-round, educates young improvisers in a high school outreach program, and facilitates classes and workshops for the general public.

Dad's Garage relies on financial support from several generous companies to keep producing scripted and improv comedy. Special thanks to MailChimp, Turner Voices, Fulton County Arts Council, The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Delta Air Lines, Kickapoo, and the City of Atlanta Office of Cultural Affairs for their support.

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