Two years ago Manhattan-based Exact Capital came to Bridgeport with a promise to resurrect two vacant theatrical jewels into their former glory as part of a Downtown renewal project that includes restoration of the adjoining Savoy Hotel and a large housing component as well. Whether that will materialize is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, that “Coming Soon” sign is getting old in this inexact deal.
In June 2017 Craig Livingston, managing partner of the commercial real estate firm Exact Capital joined city officials to announce a $400 million redevelopment of the shuttered and nostalgic Poli Palace 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.
Mayor Joe Ganim made the theaters a key piece of his 2015 comeback campaign for mayor. Now he’s in a reelection year with the development financing in limbo.
It hasn’t stopped the Greater Bridgeport Symphony, whose regular home is the 1,400-seat gem Klein Memorial, from doing its part to add attention to what was once a destination for New York’s theater and pageantry. Kudos to OIB reader Frank Gyure for bringing this story to our attention.
A report from Classic FM:
In the video (watch above), the orchestra is seen to play within moldy walls and crumbling ceilings, but there’s a nostalgic story behind the choice of venue.
Led by Music Director Eric Jacobsen and his brother Colin as first violinist, Greater Bridgeport Symphony performed the haunting piece to promote hope for the city of Bridgeport, Connecticut, following multiple theatre closures over the past few decades.
In the 1920s, the historic seaport city was thriving and kept a strong industrial base, despite the devastating consequences of World War One.
Set at the mouth of the Pequonnock River on Long Island Sound, Bridgeport was also booming after World War Two, with dozens of theatres opening their doors to cater for the growing population.
Full story here.