The long-closed, former Globe Theater (now renamed the "Wall Street Theater"), a decades-old structure in central Norwalk, is getting some help with a major renovation project from Connecticut Light & Power.
(Back in 1995, Chelsea Clinton, then the teenage daughter of President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, visited the place when it was a dance club.)
Here's a news release from state Sen. Bob Duff:
State Sen. Bob Duff (D-Norwalk) joined executives of Connecticut Light & Power and members of the Wall Street Theater Board of Directors to announce that the utility has agreed to purchase the theater’s state historic tax credits in exchange for $1.81 million in support of ongoing renovations at the historic venue.
“The Wall Street Theater is a true Norwalk institution, and its revival will help bring new life into the downtown area. Along with the construction of Wall Street Place and other economic development initiatives, we will be looking at a very different neighborhood in a very short period of time. I am proud to announce this additional support for renovation of the theater,” said Duff.
“Our city is very fortunate to have a jewel like the Wall Street Theater that is still able to be restored. The finished theater will be both a reminder of Norwalk’s past and a bright light for the future of our downtown,” said Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling.
“CL&P is pleased to partner with the Wall Street Theater Company, the City of Norwalk and the state legislature in helping to turn the Globe Theater into a cultural destination,” said CL&P President Bill Herdegen.
“We are committed to helping develop strong communities and the rehabilitation of the theater will be an integral part in the redevelopment of the Wall Street area, which has been a longstanding goal of the Norwalk community.”
“Work at the theater is progressing steadily, and these additional funds from the state and CL&P are greatly appreciated,” said Frank Farricker, Manager of the Wall Street Theater. "We are working hard to bring back the original 1914 theater for many future generations to enjoy, and to create an attraction for the benefit of other businesses and the entire area.
"We are grateful to Senator Duff, the City of Norwalk and Connecticut Light & Power for all they have done to support this project," he said.
“The state’s historic tax credits are a highly valuable tool for redevelopment of great sites like the Wall Street Theater, and I am very proud to see this project move forward in our city. Downtown Norwalk is truly in the midst of a renaissance, which will be of great benefit to all its residents and businesses,” said state Rep. Chris Perone (D-Norwalk).
“Building a great attraction in downtown Norwalk is exactly what we need to turnout city residents, attract visitors and revitalize the neighborhood. A stronger downtown will benefit the entire city, and I am very excited to see this project gain additional support,” said state Rep. Bruce Morris (D-Norwalk).
Formerly known as the Globe Theater, the re-named Wall Street Theater is a century-old cultural landmark which the state is helping to restore as part of an economic revival in downtown Norwalk.
Throughout its long history, the venue has hosted vaudeville and burlesque shows, movies and rock concerts. Yet the theater has now been closed for a decade, and its surrounding neighborhood has seen years of economic decline. A major effort to redevelop the facility is well underway.
Plans call for restoration of the theater into a general-use/multipurpose venue to accommodate live entertainment, conferences, assemblies and public performances.
The project is envisioned as part of a larger development plan for the Wall Street area of Norwalk, with significant benefits for low and moderate-income residents of the neighborhood and the city as a whole.
In support of this effort, the state has provided a $1.5 million grant toward a total estimated project cost of $7.8 million. The purchase of state tax credits announced today will provide an additional $1.81 million in funding for the project.
The tax credits will be offered through the state Department of Economic & Community Development’s Office of Culture & Tourism, with a projected value of approximately $1.81 million.
Resale of such credits is a common practice among many recipients, although these sales often yield only a discounted rate of 80% or less of the credits’ full value.
“We are particularly fortunate to have reached an agreement with CL&P to purchase our historic tax credits at 100 percent of their full projected value.," Farricker said.
"These additional funds will enable us to expand the scope of our renovation project, which will now include restoration of an original vaudeville mural, amongst other things.”
Completion of ongoing renovations at the Wall Street Theater is expected in 2015.