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Architect selected for Payne Park Auditorium expansion

Payne Park Auditorium.
Payne Park Auditorium.
Photo by Andrew Warfield
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With a goal of completing renovations and expansion of Payne Park Auditorium by summer 2025, The Stage at Payne Park LLC has selected an architecture firm to lead the design of the new home for The Players Centre for Performing Arts. 

The Stage at Payne Park, a wholly owned subsidiary nonprofit organization of The Players Inc., has chosen Fleischman Garcia Maslowski (FG+M) Architecture of Sarasota and Tampa. It has also contracted with Stages Consultants of Highland Park, New Jersey, to serve as the project’s theater, AV and acoustics consultant.

“FG+M was selected because they were local with offices in Tampa and Sarasota, have extensive experience in this area, were very cost competitive and were willing to assist in promoting the project as we gear up to launch a capital campaign in September,” said The Stage CEO Brian McCarthy in a news release. “We are excited to work with this dynamic group to bring our joint visions to life.” 

Stages Consultants has played integral roles in the programming, planning, design and construction of more than 250 academic, professional and community venues, as well as historic renovation and restoration projects.

“Stages Consultants was selected because of their incredible work on other flexible theatre projects across the country and in Florida, like the new theater at Rollins College, the Dr. Philips Center for the Performing Arts, Oolite Arts and the Faena District in Miami Beach,” said McCarthy. 

The Stage is currently searching for a general contractor, executive director and advisory committee members. The organization has initiated a major conditional use permitting process with the city of Sarasota, which will take approximately four to six months. A community workshop will be held on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at  Payne Park Auditorium to gather input from neighbors and community stakeholders.  

Construction is expected to start in March 2024.

The Stage will also host a focus group and design stakeholder meeting from noon to 3 p.m. on Aug. 29 to update a consortium of performing arts organizations on the progress, tasks ahead and to understand the varying requirements of each organization for inclusion in the design for the new facility.   

“Since the stage will only be needed by The Players for its five-month theatrical season, we are dedicated to building something that meets the various needs of Sarasota’s other arts organizations, including physical requirements for the facility, common services to reduce costs, improve efficiency and customer service, marketing, ticketing, conference rooms and their scheduling needs for the 2025 season,” said McCarthy in a release. 



Andrew Warfield

Andrew Warfield is the Sarasota Observer city reporter. He is a four-decade veteran of print media. A Florida native, he has spent most of his career in the Carolinas as a writer and editor, nearly a decade as co-founder and editor of a community newspaper in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina.