In May 2011, HRV invested $10,000,000 of its New Market Tax Credits allocation in the Howard Theatre, located in Washington, DC. The Howard Theatre is one of the oldest African American theatres in the United States and has headlined many legendary performers such as Duke Ellington, Lena Horne, Charlie Parker, The Supremes, Billie Holliday, Louis Armstrong, and Nat King Cole. The theatre is located in the northwest quadrant of DC, which has a poverty rate of 29.9% and an unemployment rate of 11.3%.
“For decades, the Howard was more than a theatre; it was an institution, a place where black performers could get a foothold in the profession, where Washington’s black community could listen to the sounds of their generations and where white audiences could learn the passion and power of the black musician.”
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the renovation of the Howard Theatre anchored the redevelopment of the neighborhood and included a small cafe/entertainment area and special events space.
The surrounding neighborhood has been characterized as severely blighted and the restoration of the theatre has provided a critical boost in revitalizing the neighborhood as a cultural center called Ellington Plaza. The plaza includes dining and entertainment, special events and will-lit sidewalks with newly planted trees and architecture.
Construction of the project provided 152 jobs and the ongoing operations at the theatre has generated 101 new positions.
The impact on the community for a project such as this is substantial.