Clifton Forge Masonic Theatre

Clifton Forge Masonic Theatre

Loan Closing Date: 2-2-15
Funding Source: ACC – $1.2 million; Community Capital Bank – $2.3 million
Loan Amount: $3.5 Million
Location: Clifton Forge, VA 

In the heart of Clifton Forge, about a half hour west of Lexington, is the historic Masonic Theatre. Up until 1987, the Masonic was the oldest operating theater in Virginia. It reopened in 1990 and was donated to the town of Clifton Forge in 2003. The architectural masterpiece has hosted such stars as Gene Autry, Tex Ritter, Burl Ives, the Drifters, and the world-famous Count Basie Orchestra. In 2016 the theatre turned 111 years old, and remains a vital part of the Clifton Forge community thanks to the work of the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation, formed in 2009. The Foundation need contributions and financing to renovate and operate this historic landmark and community asset.

Virginia Community Capital’s Role

In 2015, Virginia Community Capital provided significant financing with a historic tax credit bridge loan, in addition to the support of Virginia Community Development Corporation, People, Inc., US Bank. Department of Housing & Community Development, Alleghany Foundation, and contributions from residents.

Why This Project Matters

The Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation’s mission was to turn the three-story, Beaux Arts brick building theatre into a performing arts, entertainment, education, and community facility. With the renovation complete, the Foundation can focus on the operation of this valuable community institution for residents of the Alleghany Highlands.

Since Virginia Community Capital’s role in the project was to provide bridge financing, the Foundation was able to pay back the loan quickly allowing Virginia Community Capital to redeploy this capital to new projects in the Appalachian region including:

  • A loan to a lighting supplies company in Bristol, VA for business acquisition financing and a line of credit for working capital. This loan will retain 8 living wage jobs in Bristol VA, 5 of which are for low-income persons.
  • Financing for the construction and ownership of a 1.3 megawatt solar farm for a non-profit hospital in the New River Valley. This project will save the hospital nearly $1.7 million in energy costs over 20 years and the carbon footprint reduction will be 3.2 million pounds CO2/year. The solar farm will generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 157 homes for an entire year!

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