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URL for the new Oriental Theatre website:
Some more links regarding the Uptown Theatre Restoration:
Friends of the Uptown (corrected link):
Block Club Chicago Article and photos/renditions:
Uptown Update: List of articles related to the Uptown Theatre:
Tribune November 13 article:
Tribune June 29 article article:
Tribune 2015 history article:
Uptown Theatre unofficial facebook page (friends and volunteers):
Still looking for an official page. Hopefully soon.
Here’s an August 2018 update: Basically, Exact Capital is still putting together the $50,000,000 funding to get the project started:
Corrected link to the CT Post article about the restoration:
Another article about the theatres:
Here’s the details:
From the Connecticut Post: BRIDGEPORT — Even as City Hall has launched a search for developers for properties along Main and Congress streets, ground has yet to be broken on the renovation of a pair of historic theaters nearby — a project offered up as a selling point to prospective downtown investors.
Related Stories New commercial and residential projects touted as reanimating Bridgeport Developer promises late 2018 groundbreaking for Bridgeport… Bridgeport City Council approves theater redevelopment deal Unions to Ganim: Include us in theaters project Zoning board OKs sale of theaters, hotel Bridgeport’s Office of Planning and Economic Development recently issued requests for proposals (RFPs) for the nearly two-acre Davidson’s Fabrics site, also known as the Middle Street Boys Club property, and for a 35,000 square foot surface parking lot used for police vehicles.
The city wants a mix of retail and market-rate housing on the parking lot, but has placed fewer restrictions on ideas for the Davidson’s building. Ideally that historic structure would be restored with “proposals that will draw patrons, dollars and activity into downtown (and) encourage overnight hotel stays” while also serving current and future downtown residents, according to the RFP.
Both RFPs promote a $400 million plan by New York-based Exact Capital, approved last September by the City Council, to restore the Poli Palace and Majestic theaters and Savoy Hotel to the north of Davidson’s Fabric and the cops’ parking lot. Residential towers — one 18 stories high — were also part of Exact’s winning pitch, selected from three responses.
Late last November, Craig Livingston, managing partner at Exact, had said the developer planned to break ground in “the back half” of 2018.
But as of this week, Exact, according to the city, is still piecing together the $50 million in financing needed for Phase 1 — rehabilitating the theaters and Savoy into a hotel with retail and performance/assembly space.
”We talk on a bi-weekly basis as to Exact’s progress on financing and tenancy on Phase 1,” wrote William Coleman, deputy director of planning and economic development, in an email to Hearst Connecticut Media.
Exact’s vision was frequently touted by Mayor Joe Ganim during his unsuccessful bid to win August’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. At one point, the mayor called the proposal “the most exciting urban development project anywhere in this state.”
Under the terms of the city’s deal with Exact, the developer had a year to assemble financing for Phase 1. Coleman said that the time period ends with the 2018 calendar year, not with September’s anniversary of the council’s approval.
Livingston, when reached by phone this week by Hearst, said he was on a conference call and asked that the reporter call back. He did not respond to subsequent requests for comment.
Coleman said Exact, beside working on financing and pursuing tenants, has also done market analysis and environmental assessment of the old buildings.
Coleman also noted that, regardless of what happens with the theaters, there is interest in the Davidson’s Fabrics and police parking sites nearby and “we believe they can go forward.”
Though there has been no visible progress on Exact’s Bridgeport project, the company and its partners have, according to coverage by some Realty websites, broken ground on a similar redevelopment of Harlem’s Victoria Theater — Exact’s first experience with old historic performance spaces.
Michael Jordan, president of Jordan Electric, in mid-April attended a job fair the city and Exact held to promote the planned work on Bridgeport’s theaters and the potential opportunities for local and minority contractors. Unlike some other development deals, Ganim and the City Council did not insist Exact employ union labor — a move proponents said could provide more work for residents and minorities.
Jordan said he has not been contacted since the fair about any work but was still hopeful: “These wheels roll slow. Things move slow.”
”Will I be around for it is the big question,” added Jordan, 63. “I got a couple more years and probably going to hand it (his business) over to someone else.”
It looks, from Matt Lambros’s article, that Fitchburg State University, which recently bought the entire block, is planning renovations to both the overall building and the theatre itself. He also has some great photos, both exterior and interior!
Let’s hope this renovation project goes forward!
Looks like things are going forward with the New England Farm Workers' Council’s plans to restore the Paramount Theatre into a performing arts center. They just received a $2,500.00 state grant which will be used this fall to replace the roof and secure the building for winter. Eventually they will be commencing a $41,000,000 restoration Paramount into a performing arts center. Their renovation plans also involve several other buildings in the immediate area. The retail/office front portion will be renovated into a boutique hotel. Previously they received a $3,700,000 federal grand to aid in creating design and development plans.
MassLive March 2018 article about the renovation project:
2017 Masslive feature story about the Paramount and its history:
MassLive 2017 article about the proposed restoration (includes photo gallery):
photo gallery of historical Paramount photos:
Paramount Facebook Page (no updates since 2015):
The front of the building was originally a service station from the 1920s through the 1940s. In 1950 it was expanded with an autiditorium in the back and opened as the Bing Theatre which showed first-run movies and then later second-run movies before closing in 1999. All seats on the main floor; I remember the auditorium being completely draped in red curtains.
This is actually a photo of the San Antonio Majestic Theatre.
New official website:
They have an extensive lineup of concerts for 2018!
Latest update on the renovation effort:
They now have commitments for approximately $27,000,000 towards the new total cost estimate of $43,000,000. In the 1980’s and 1990’s, the roof was repaired and asbestos removed.
The link above is glitched in the URL code. But if you copy and paste it into your browser, you’ll get there!
Their official website (on facebook) is at:
The Fox’s webpage has their technical specifications manual which has a lot of tech details about the theatre and stage facilities, as well as partial floor plans. It can be accessed here:
Proscenium opening is 79 feet wide and stage depth from fire curtain to back wall is 34 feet 7 inches.
They have a new official website up:
Matt Lambros had a mention of this with before and after photos of the auditorium
Auditorium is now gutted to the brick and steel skeleton.
It looks like renovation will finally happen for the Palace!
According to this article, the Exact Capital Group plans to renovate both the Palace and Majestic Theatres and the Savoy Hotel (to be expanded), as well as build two residential towers across the street and another residential tower nearby.
The Palace would be renovated into a banquet ballroom and a family-friendly indoor recreation center, and the Majestic into a performing arts center. They plan to begin work win about 12 months (late 2018).
here’s a link to a nice detailed article about e history of the Hollewood Theatre – and two photos. (One interior!)
Website down; the restoration may have stalled.
According to the Google Aerial views (April 2017), the auditorium is now completely demolished; only the lobby portion remains.
It looks like a proposal is underway for a possible major renovation of the Alameda starting in 2018:
The following article has some good interior photos and descriptions of the renovations:
Here’s a news update about the Palace (Orpheum) renovations. It also shows the new owner/manager is Jam Productions and that the restoration is almost complete and it will open sometime in early 2017.
The Palace Theatre’s website is up at:
For now it’s little more than a placeholder, but does announce it will open in 2017.
From their website, information on the upcoming 2016-17 renovations and info on the original and current organs:
“Originally, the Keith-Albee was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ to accompany live performances and motion pictures. The organ was capable of creating almost any sound effect needed for silent films shown in theatres of the day. In 1950, the organ was sold and removed from the Keith-Albee. Huntington resident Robert Edmunds and his Huntington Theatre Organ Project, Inc. took on the project of replacing the organ. Thankfully as a result of significant efforts, a 1927 Wurlitzer organ, originally in the Granada Theatre in Bluefield, WV, was purchased and installed in the Keith-Albee in 2001. In 2009, the original Keith-Albee Wurlitzer became available and is currently being reinstalled in the theatre, and the Granada Theatre organ has been relocated to its original home.”
“Projects that are in the process are restoration of the heating and cooling system (2016), seating (2016-2017), 4 dressing rooms (2015-2016) and women’s restrooms to begin the spring of 2016. Through community involvement work has begun to recreate the original carpet. KAPAC will have the carpet reproduced and installed. Several other projects are under development, such as the electrical system upgrade, restoration of the furnishings, rear façade repairs and restorations, restoration of the dressing room towers and basement, and finally the restoration of the plaster and painting of the theatre. All projects will be funded through public funding and private donations.”
Recent article in the Daily Hampshire Gazette about the upcoming restoration of a historic curtain at the Academy.
Theater will soon close for renovations & restoration of art deco architectural details, and will reopen as a quad cinema.