"I remember people came to me and said, 'They're starting this thing called Fringe Festival,' and I said, 'Oh my gosh, are there going to be arrests?'" Rendell said with a laugh. "And they said, 'No, no, it's going to be all right."
The state has provided $1 million in seed money for the project and the remainder is coming from grants and donations, with all but $600,000 of the $7 million total already raised. The Fringe bought the building last summer for $750,000.
Organizers also unveiled the festival's name change to FringeArts, which previously was known as the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe.
"We needed a name that fit on the marquee," Stuccio said.