Vicinity Energy, owner of the nation’s largest portfolio of district energy systems, has secured a 20-year steam contract with Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest continuously operating theater. This new heat and hot water agreement expands upon the longstanding working relationship between the two organizations and is a key element of Walnut Street’s $39 million theater expansion.
Planned to be completed in 2022, the “Future Lives Here” project is aimed at continuing the theater’s mission of serving the community through storytelling, education, and entertainment. Vicinity will supply 3,710 million pounds of steam annually to deliver both heating and domestic hot water for the existing facility and 35,000-square-foot addition. The expansion includes a fully renovated lobby and box office, additional space for its growing education programs, two state-of-the-art rehearsal halls, a 400-seat theatre-in-the-round (the first of its kind in the region), and a restaurant.
Walnut Street Theatre has been a cornerstone of the city’s arts and performance community since 1809, and Vicinity Energy has been supplying the theater with thermal energy for over 30 years. With well-established locally managed energy facilities powered by sustainable combined heat and power (CHP) and renewable energy, Vicinity supplies heating and cooling to over 400 buildings in the Philadelphia area with 99.99% reliability. The company actively works to reduce carbon emissions, participating in the Greenworks of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Energy Authority’s Energy campaign. Through Vicinity’s Clean Energy Future—a formalized commitment, vision, and roadmap to achieve net zero carbon by 2050—Vicinity is helping to create a cleaner, greener environment in Philadelphia for generations to come.
“District energy is all about providing local solutions to address the global demand for energy sustainability, affordability, and reliability. Vicinity is proud to provide first-class service, especially to an historic landmark and vibrant part of Philadelphia’s culture like Walnut Street Theatre. We have a strong commitment to the communities that we serve, and are looking forward to a long and fruitful partnership with Walnut Street Theatre and the city of Philadelphia,” said Bill DiCroce, Vicinity CEO.
“Reliable service is essential in operating the Walnut Street Theatre, America’s oldest theater. We chose Vicinity to meet today’s modern demands in operating our National Historic Landmark because of their outstanding track record and dedication to the community,” said Mark D. Sylvester, Managing Director of the theater.
The theater funded the renovation efforts through donations from subscribers, individual ticket buyers, friends, corporations, and foundations, as well as from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.