June 7, 2012 | last updated June 10, 2012 12:20 pm

First Niagara lends Long Wharf $4M

The Long Wharf Theater is New Haven is pushing ahead with a major renovation.

New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre is nearer to its Mainstage renovation after getting $4 million in loans from First Niagara Bank to match up with pledges and donations, authorities say.

First Niagara said Thursday it loaned the venue fronting I-95 and Long Island Sound $2.25 million toward its Mainstage renovation, and a $1.75 million line of credit to use as working capital.

Long Wharf's Mainstage renovation project is the first of its kind for the theatre in nearly 50 years at its current location.

Work will include a new glass-and-steel exterior entry and lobby and new and realigned seats, removing the last row of each section and re-spacing the seats to give three to five more inches of legroom. The upgrade will reduce the theatre's number of seats from 486 to 405.

Additional renovations include an upgraded lighting grid, expanded and renovated restrooms and actors' lounge area, and new heating and air-conditioning units.

A new, more welcoming sign will also be added and the overall new design will increase the theatre's visibility from I-95.

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