UPDATE, rescheduled from March 13 to April 17 as a result of impending storm. The city’s selected developer to revitalize the long-shuttered Downtown theaters will host a forum April 17 to explain the development process and timeline that includes restoration of the Majestic and a major housing component. It will take place 3 p.m. at Margaret Morton Government Center, 999 Broad Street. Contractors and suppliers are invited. The forum will be presented by the city’s Small & Minority Business Office.
Last June Craig Livingston, managing partner of the Manhattan-based commercial real estate firm Exact Capital Group joined city officials to announce a $400 million redevelopment of the shuttered and nostalgic Poli and Majestic theaters Downtown that includes a performing arts center, entertainment and sports venue, preservation of the Savoy Hotel into 200 rooms, two 18-floor towers across the street, with retail and underground parking, that would become the tallest buildings in the central business district, and another 10 floors of housing units on Housatonic Avenue.
Livingston has projected a groundbreaking late this year for the first-phase theater restoration. The project has its skeptics. It’s anticipated that Livingston will provide an update on the financing of the project.
Exact Capital’s portfolio includes the ongoing $178 million redevelopment of Harlem’s Victoria Theater, that’s experienced its share of starts and stops. See details here.
Sylvester Poli, a renowned sculptor in New York, launched Bridgeport as a respected theatrical community circa 1920 via construction of his architectural treasures that combined for roughly 6,000 seats. The biggest Broadway stars of the era such as Eddie Cantor and Al Jolson performed in Bridgeport. The 100-room Savoy Hotel, whose sign is still a feature on the vacant building, was part of the complex.
Shuttered for more than 40 years, a solicitation for development proposals was issued in January 2017. Economic Development Director Tom Gill said advancement of Downtown North redevelopment projects spurred interest in the twin gems. For old-time Bridgeport residents they represent an era when the city was a magnet for Broadway’s theater and pageantry.
Other details, according to the developer, include:
— The Majestic Theater will be renovated and reopen with 2,200 seats for use by local and regional performing arts groups that will be deeded by the City of Bridgeport
— Rehabilitate 3 first floor retail spaces for goods and services complementary to the renovated Savoy Hotel
— Renovate and restore the former Poli Palace entrance to original historic condition that will serve as an entrance to the renovated Savoy Hotel
— Use a portion of the Poli Palace Theater as gym or healthy lifestyle venue
— Use a portion of the Poli Palace as a ballroom or entertainment venue for hosting banquets, weddings, graduations, galas, conferences, etc.
— Rehabilitate Savoy Hotel to modern hotel standards
— Construct a new residential tower ranging from studios to 3-bedroom apartments with private terraces.