Former Kol Am building sold to local theater group

A photo illustration depicts Stages St. Louis’ planned signage on its newly purchased building, which formerly housed Congregation Kol Am. Handout image

Stages St. Louis has bought the former Congregation Kol Am building in Chesterfield and will turn it into a performing arts academy and administrative center. However, Stages productions will continue to take place in the Robert G. Reim Theatre at the Kirkwood Civic Center.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Stages to secure a permanent home for our educational programs, as well as rehearsal space, ticket and administrative offices and flexible performance hall,” explained Executive Producer Jack Lane. “Over the past two years, we have conducted an exhaustive search of properties throughout the region. The Kol Am building best suits our needs, with minimal renovation costs and the ability to remain in Chesterfield to serve our patrons here.”

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The synagogue closed in 2011 because of the fiscal challenges brought about by the construction of its new building in Chesterfield where it relocated in 2006,. The institution knew it would be incurring significant deficits with the 22,000-square-foot facility but believed it could attract new members to keep it in a financially sustainable position. However, families did join but not in large enough numbers for the temple to remain viable.

Stages purchased the building for $2.8 million. Frontenac Bank, the seller, has made a $100,000 gift to Stages as part of the transaction. The purchase price plus renovation and related costs will total $4 million.

The building will be named Kent Center for Theatre Arts in honor of long time Stages supporters Judy and Jerry Kent who have made a significant lead gift towards the capital campaign.

The new facility is projected to open in early 2013.