The Capitol Center for the Arts has cemented its commitment to reviving the Concord Theatre.
The performance center recently bought the old theater from developer Steve Duprey for $571,800 and started demolition on the adjacent building that recently housed a tailoring shop.
Nikki Clarke, executive director of the Cap Center, said the project still has about $2 million to go in fundraising, money that had to be financed through bank loans in order to have roughly $6 million in hand so site work could begin. Earlier this year, Clarke said about $1.2 million had already been raised through fundraising events.
But with the awarding of $1.1 million in net new market tax credits, a program developed to attract development to historically underserved projects and communities, she’s positive the community will step up.
“I think they’ll help us complete bringing this treasure back to Concord in a new format,” she said.
The new theater would operate as a flexible, multi-purpose event venue. Set up for a standing-room-only crowd, it could fit 400, or by extending the retractable bleacher-like seats, it can sit 260. It has a bar upstairs, a lobby downstairs and a box office out front.
Not all of the fundraising is specifically for the new theater. The capital campaign will also fund a new marquee, a ticketing system and a new heating system. But an additional venue will allow the Cap Center to book more niche events and club-like dance shows with a smaller audience while still booking bigger acts for the 1,300-seat main theater.
Duprey, who is partnering with the Cap Center on the project, bought the old theater’s site late last year for $483,533. It was a necessary move for the project to have a chance to get the tax credits since the area between Hills Avenue and Centre Street is no longer eligible due to redevelopment that has occurred around South Main Street.
(This story appeared in the Aug. 28 edition of the Concord Monitor.)