Known as the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Parkway Film Center, the new facility for independent film will be owned and operated by the nonprofit Maryland Film Festival (MFF). Located in a severely distressed neighborhood, the project represents a potential tipping point for the neighborhood, eliminating a large blighting influence and bringing hundreds of patrons, students, faculty and artists to the corner of Charles Street and North Avenue.
The renovations restored the 420-seat theater, and creating a new building to house two smaller 100-seat theaters. The Parkway has three components: cinema, education and occasional live music events. Programming focuses on small independent films from around the world as well as other series that do not currently have a venue in Baltimore. The Parkway will provide a much-needed venue for these screenings as well as discussions and lectures from their filmmakers.
The Parkway is also a crucial part of the expansion of the film and media studies programs at both Johns Hopkins University and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), who house their joint program at the recently completed Centre Theater across the street (another Reinvestment Fund-financed redevelopment). The institutions will regularly use the Parkway screening rooms and main theater for student and faculty programs.
This investment builds on strong relationships Reinvestment Fund has built with Johns Hopkins University and MICA and a series of recent Reinvestment Fund investments in this District. Financing for the $17.2 million project includes $14 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocations from Reinvestment Fund and JPMorgan Chase. Chase is also the NMTC equity investor. Reinvestment Fund is also providing a $9.02 million loan that will help bridge sources for the $9.7 million leverage loan include state historic credit equity and private and public grants. Low Income Investment Fund is a $3 million participant in the financing.
In addition to serving the academic institutions, the Parkway will also enable MFF to expand its youth outreach efforts, building off existing relationships and programming with Baltimore School for the Arts, Wide Angle Youth Media and Kids on the Hill. MFF plans to bring local school students to the Parkway for sessions with emerging filmmakers and to add repertory screening geared towards youth to their annual festival.