Loew's Majestic Theatre

1347 Main Street,
Bridgeport, CT 06604

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Roger James Smith
Roger James Smith on September 1, 2018 at 10:13 am

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.”

Roger James Smith
Roger James Smith on September 1, 2018 at 10:10 am

https://www.ctpost.com/local/article/A-year-later-theaters-rehab-still-pending-13197613.php

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 14, 2018 at 9:53 am

Circa 1952 photo added credit Dave Gelinas.

spectrum
spectrum on August 23, 2017 at 9:55 pm

It looks like renovation will finally happen for the Palace!

http://www.ctpost.com/local/article/Developer-plans-renovated-Bridgeport-theaters-11230815.php

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).

Anorak
Anorak on April 22, 2017 at 1:35 pm

I was driving by this week and I noticed a sign that said coming soon: Majestic Performing Arts Center. I don’t get downtown much these days, so I’m not sure how long the sign has been there, but I’ve definitely never noticed it before. It also looks like a new marquee is under construction. I didn’t see anything on the Palace side of the building.

DanaQualley
DanaQualley on January 14, 2017 at 4:01 pm

there is an excellent urban exploration video of this building and walk-through of both auditoriums. it was posted last month.there is no mention of the location in the video however i recognized it from the various pictures that i have seen and i’m sure that there are very few large double auditorium theaters in the u.s. it is worth checking out. that place still seems to be in very nice shape!!

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on August 13, 2015 at 1:40 pm

I just put a facebook page online to cover our efforts to acquire, restore and reopen the Majestic, Palace Theatres and the Savoy Hotel. While each will maintain their name, if we get them, the entire complex will be named The P.T. Barnum Event Center.

https://www.facebook.com/ptbarnumeventcenter

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on August 3, 2015 at 7:33 pm

The original plan, is to get the wiring and “must be done prior to occupancy” things done, so some concerts can be held in one of the theatres (hopefully the Palace; as it seats 1242 more people). That will give us 1) a non-used theatre to work on 2) allow people to see how much work needs to be done; and why $’s, donated items and volunteer help is desperately needed. We also will work to get the storefronts useable, so that we can open 1) a shelf-pull, damaged and closeout store in one or two of the storefronts. 2) a store that sells donated items. Having these two store types open will help raise funds towards the project. They also will draw attention to the fact we are restoring the theatres and hotel. This will help get items donated, additional volunteers and cash donations. Documenting everything and making still pictures, DVD’s and CD’s to sell as fundraisers also will be done. Right now, I need a list of people that are interested in helping; from getting the city to approve letting us do the project, to fundraising, grant-writing, volunteer work in restoration. Thank You! Don Kirk

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on July 29, 2015 at 7:52 pm

On Monday July 27, 2015, I entered what I’m told will be lengthily talks with the City of Bridgeport to either lease or purchase the Palace, Majestic and Savoy Hotel for restoration and operation. I’ve done this before; and I’m a concert promoter/producer of bot big name entertainers and world’s best tribute artists. I will be in Bridgeport mid-October to tour the facilities and would like to meet anyone interested in helping (some paid and some volunteers) restore these grand pieces of Bridgeport history. If interested, please contact me at I live in Far Northern CA; but would move to Bridgeport, if the city and I can come to an agreement. There will also be need of people to help with fundraisers (some will be concerts), festivals and seeking grants. We also will be asking local businesses to donate a substantial amount of the supplies. If enough people reply, I will schedule a meeting someplace, for everyone to attend, while I’m there in October. Again (Don)

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on July 27, 2015 at 8:44 am

I have contacted the city; and they have contacted me about both the Loew’s Majestic and Palice Theatres. I have done theatre restorations in the past; and I also promote & produce big name and top tribute artist entertainers on concert tours.

I am interested in heading up efforts to restore and reopen these two grand theatres, for both live entertainment and film, but need to know that there is enough interest from local residents, to help make that happen. If you are interested, please contact me. Don Thanks.

davidmel
davidmel on September 24, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Anyone interested in joining our grassroots effort to renovate the (Poli) Palace & Majestic theaters in Downtown Bridgeport & help revitalize the Downtown area, please join our Facebook page “CHAMPIONS OF BRIDGEPORT’S HISTORIC PRESERVATION”. We just started & need support. Monthly meetings are under way & future fundraisers are in the works.

davidplomin
davidplomin on August 7, 2014 at 9:51 pm

Hey Seamus1972. Your story piques my interest. Email me at: . I LOVE a good ghost story. I have a few theater ones myself..

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on December 15, 2011 at 10:42 am

I recently photographed the inside of the Majestic Theatre. Check out my blog post at After the Final Curtain

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on June 23, 2011 at 2:08 am

From a CT Post article on urban blight, the sister theaters are mentioned in the “theater district ” section. http://bit.ly/mpDpmM

Picture #11 isn’t mentioned by name but is the Hippodrome Theater on Stratford Avenue, which was in operation from 1907-1964.

Seamus1972
Seamus1972 on November 10, 2010 at 4:57 am

I have pictures on my cell phone….Please can we save her???

Seamus1972
Seamus1972 on November 10, 2010 at 4:52 am

To whom It may conceren….
I am not a very good speller…..BUT…I would like to tell my story,…It is VERY true.,…..strange,..but true.
I was born and raised in and around Bridgeport Patheticut,.June 5th,..1972. Out of this recent time of this craazy spinning rock..I know this is not my first time around……..Anyway,..Am living in Vermont and had to come back to Ct. to take care of motor vehicular mayhem that I left behind…..
Long story short,….I spent 4 nights in the Majestic…..

They were nice to me,…They let themselves be known, but did not torment me….

If anyone would like to hear further on this matter,….PLEASE contact me,….I will never EVER be the same…..

Seamus1972
Seamus1972 on November 10, 2010 at 4:27 am

Wanna hear this?…I spent 4 nights in the Majestic….

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on August 17, 2010 at 12:07 pm

Its amazing to see in the photos that the projection equiptment is still there,although in bad shape I am sure.I quess it is hard enough to restore one theatre,but 2 in the same building!Matbe they could at least restore one of them, maybe the one still in the best shape, I know that is wishful thinking.

bicyclereporter
bicyclereporter on August 17, 2010 at 1:20 am

Slight mention in CT Post.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on August 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Any more ghost photos?

palacemajestic
palacemajestic on March 12, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I’m currently trying to get support to restore the theatres and would like to put together a list of people who
1) could provide some historical information about the site or who attended when it was open (e.g. russello)
2) would be interested in aiding with the restoration project
3) are interested on being on a mailing list about it’s restoration.

If you’re interested please email me at
Thanks, Christina

awertz
awertz on February 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Found this set of beautiful pictures on flickr. The location is not listed so it makes it difficult to find otherwise.

View link

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on December 29, 2009 at 1:21 pm

Two more palaces down the tubes.

deleted user
[Deleted] on September 9, 2009 at 1:34 pm

Hi, Gary. Thanks for your information on the organs in the in the Majestic and the Palace. The photo I was basing my information on was this one on Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/nespirit/2567163173/

According to the caption, the photo was taken in 2008. I’m not sure whether this console was in the Majestic or Palace portion of the complex. I’m assuming this is an original pipe organ console and is not electronic.

GaryParks
GaryParks on September 4, 2009 at 7:39 pm

A comment about “the organ” referred to two posts above by MikeR.: The organ pipes you see in the recent photos of the Majestic and Palace are display pipes, that is, non-functional, put there just for looks, as is actually done in some churches. The real organ pipes were behind them. The organs themselves—pipes and consoles—were removed from both theatres long ago. In 1990, I toured both the Palace and Majestic with the Theatre Historical Society. A few of us climbed the ladder into one of the organ chambers in the Majestic. There were indeed a few organ pipes in the chamber leaning against a wall, but the chests and wind lines were gone. I can’t speak for the Palace—other than being told that the organ was gone—we were not allowed to go backstage at the Palace, as we were told the stage surface was rotted from roof leaks and might not hold our weight. On the same Conclave tour, we also visited the Poli Palace in Waterbury, CN, a very similar Thomas Lamb design to those in Bridgeport. It too, had display pipes intact, though the organ was gone. The Waterbury Palace has since been restored, which makes me especially happy, as my dad went there frequently when it was new, and his memories are one of the ingredients which kindled my own interest in theatres.