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Studio 54

At the time of investment, Studio 54 was just a “throw-in” with the primary purchase, a 17-story office building located next door at 254 W. 54th Street. The purchase was made by Hadar along with several partners who, after two years, wanted to sell the entire site. The Studio 54 tenant had gone bankrupt, and rather than invest in the space, the partners felt it was a good time to sell at a profit. Hadar, however, saw a future in the site and bought out the partners for cash. By the time the office building had been renovated and rented, Studio 54 had already proven its worth — the air rights alone were sold for an amount completely covering the cost of the buy-out.

The Roundabout Theatre Company expressed an interest in renting Studio 54 to continue their run of Cabaret, but lacked the resources to pay market rents or undertake the substantial renovations required to make Studio 54 suitable for the production. Anticipating that Cabaret would likely be a long-running hit, Hadar struck a deal to advance the renovation funds and charge a discounted rent — as well as cover a number of other needed expenses to get the show up and running — against payments from the proceeds of the show as well as the right to manage the theater’s concessions.

Hadar’s business experience and understanding of what customers want guided his decisions for the bar concessions — he hired an experienced management team and employed aspiring actors as staff.  When Cabaret opened at Studio 54 in August of 1998, the show’s concessions were one of the most profitable of any Broadway theater, matched only by those of The Lion King. Five years later, the show had been so successful that Roundabout was able to buy the theater — a “win-win” situation for everyone.