Loew's Palace Theatre

1325 Main Street,
Bridgeport, CT 06604

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Loew's Palace Theatre

The Loew’s Poli Theatre was the biggest movie theatre ever erected in Connecticut, and the largest among Bridgeport’s 20-plus theatres.

The Loew’s Poli Theatre is one of two theatres built inside a single building (the other being the Majestic Theatre). The former Loew’s Poli Theatre has clearly seen better days.

Later renamed Loew’s Palace Theatre, it is similar in style to the Waterbury Palace Theatre which is itself a former Loew’s Poli Theatre.

The Loew’s Palace Theatre was screening adult movies in the Winter of 1974, (the Majestic Theatre had closed in 1971) and the Palace Theatre was closed in 1975.

It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 59 comments)

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on August 2, 2015 at 5:55 pm

The city tells me that both theatres are in pretty “bad” condition (mortar in outer brick walls needs attention. A lot of the plaster is falling down. “ALL” the wiring needs replaced. Because the theatres and hotel are registered as historical landmarks (both outside and inside), a lot of different agencies need to approve any plans for restoration. I fully intend to do what I can to win approval from the city to undertake the restoration; but….. Much of the work will need to be volunteered. A large part of the supplies needed will have to be donated. I will work with locals to form a “Friends” nonprofit that will help with much of that. I really need you to volunteer and get others to do the same, just t get city approval. Don

DonaldKirk
DonaldKirk on August 3, 2015 at 5:34 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

DanaQualley
DanaQualley on January 22, 2017 at 5:12 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!!

dan_blue
dan_blue on January 23, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Actually two videos. Someone needs to restore this building.

DanaQualley
DanaQualley on February 6, 2017 at 11:52 pm

From what I saw in the videos both theaters seemed to be in nice shape. But they need to empty out the crap on the Majestic’s main floor.

DanaQualley
DanaQualley on February 6, 2017 at 11:53 pm

this and the Majestic are my favorite theaters

Matt Lambros
Matt Lambros on March 24, 2017 at 7:52 am

The Palace is one of the 24 theaters in my new book, “After the Final Curtain: The Fall of the American Movie Theater,” which is available on Amazon or your local bookstore

spectrum
spectrum on August 23, 2017 at 7:54 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).

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on February 14, 2018 at 7:52 am

Circa 1952 photo added credit Dave Gelinas. Loew’s Poli blade sign in background.

spectrum
spectrum on October 10, 2018 at 10:22 am

Here’s an August 2018 update: Basically, Exact Capital is still putting together the $50,000,000 funding to get the project started:

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

Corrected link to the CT Post article about the restoration:

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

Another article about the theatres:

http://www.damnedct.com/poli-palace-majestic-theater-savoy-hotel-bridgeport

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.”

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