Reviving the Columbia Theatre

Reviving the Columbia Theatre. The Palmer Westport Group presented its findings of the feasibility of the Columbia Theatre restoration to the Maiden Alley, Columbia Theatre, and review boards Wednesday afternoon after interviewing more than 40 community leaders.

The meeting was behind closed doors, but it has excitement building for the future of the building.

“People in the community are interested in the project. They’re excited about the project,” said Susan Palmer, President of the Palmer Westport Group.

And that may be half the battle to lighting up the Columbia Theatre once again. Darlene Mazzone, Co-Chair on the Columbia Theatre Board, says the group’s architect recommended Palmer to look at whether bringing the old theater back to life is worth the cost, an estimated $8.3 million. 

Palmer calls that number comprehensive. “That includes what we call the sticks and brick number, it includes soft costs, it also included a little bit of a board restricted reserve,” said Palmer.

The plan at this point, to get as much bang for their buck as possible. “The current plan calls for us to have three theaters. A ground floor screen and two screens on the top,” said Mazzone.

With multiple uses, film, music, and lectures. But Mazzone says they want to get this right, so don’t expect patrons in the seats anytime soon. “It’s a long journey. It”s not going to happen overnight by any means,” said Mazzone.

The board that heard the feasibility study results will look at those finding and make recommendations. A plan must be adopted before they can move forward.

An executive summary of the Palmer Westport Group feasibility study will be made public, but we don’t know when yet.

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