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Vicinity Energy Secures 20-Year Contract to Provide Heat and Hot Water to America’s Oldest Theatre

Dec 17, 2020

Vicinity Energy will supply 3,710 Mlbs of steam annually for new addition to Philadelphia’s Walnut Street Theatre

PHILADELPHIA, December 16, 2020: 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 theatre. 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 theatre expansion.

Planned to be completed in 2022, the “Future Lives Here” project is aimed at continuing the theatre’s mission of serving the community through storytelling, education and entertainment. Vicinity will supply 3,710 Mlbs 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 theatre 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 theatre. 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 theatre.

The theatre funded the renovation efforts through donations from subscribers, individual ticket buyers, friends, corporations and foundations, as well as from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

About Vicinity Energy
With 19 district energy systems in 12 major cities, Vicinity Energy is the largest provider of district energy solutions in the U.S. Vicinity produces and distributes steam, hot water and chilled water directly through our vast underground network to individual buildings and campuses. District energy eliminates the need for boiler and chiller plants in individual buildings, improving overall efficiency, lowering carbon footprint and increasing reliability. Vicinity’s over 450 skilled engineers, operators and energy experts have a singular dedication to customer success and a relentless focus on delivering reliable and efficient energy products and services.

About Walnut Street Theatre
The Walnut Street Theatre, founded in 1809, is America’s Oldest Theatre. It is also the Official State Theatre of Pennsylvania and a National Historic Landmark. With nearly 50,000 season ticket holders, the Walnut is also the most subscribed theatre company in the world. The mission of Walnut Street Theatre Company is to sustain the tradition of professional theatre and contribute to its future viability and vitality through the production and presentation of professional theatre, cultivation of diverse audiences, educational programs, and the preservation and chronicling of its theatre building. Learn more at

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Sara DeMille
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications