NORWALK, Conn. -- Connecticut Light & Power will purchase the Wall Street Theater's historic tax credits in exchange for $1.81 million to renovate the historic Norwalk venue, which has been closed for more than a decade.
The Wall Street Theater, formerly known as the Globe Theater, was built in 1914 and has hosted vaudeville and burlesque shows, movies and rock concerts. Since its closing, the surrounding neighborhood has suffered economic decline. But plans are underway to restore the theater as a multipurpose venue that will accommodate live entertainment, conferences, assemblies and public performances.
"Connecticut Light & Power is very excited about being part of this program. We have bought credits that have helped community across the entire state to revitalize these types of neighborhoods that could use just a little bit of extra help," said Bill Herdegen, president of CL&P. "We're looking forward to the economic prosperity it will bring, not only to this theater but to the surrounding area."
"The city has worked really hard to help bring back and revitalize this area," said Sen. Bob Duff. Projects like this and the nearby Wall Street Place development will help restore the neighborhood, he said. "This is an area that is very important to all of us, and we think that once it's all done the area is going to shine, it's going to attract people downtown, and that's really important."
As part of the renovation, the theater has uncovered several historical murals, which it will be working to restore.
"I can't be more thankful on behalf of the theater to Connecticut Light & Power," said Frank Farricker, manager of the Wall Street Theater. "It's so hard to do these projects and have enough money to do something that's going to be proper for the community, that's going to last a long, long time. It's going to be representative of the community, and it's going to bring out the historic nature of something that's been a part of this community for 100 years."
In addition to the $1.81 million provided through the purchase of the tax credits, the state has provided a $1.5 million grant toward the total estimated $7.8 million cost of the project.
"We've been working very hard as a city and with the support of our state delegation to revitalize the downtown through arts and cultural programming," said Jackie Lightfield of Norwalk 2.0. "Having a vibrant theater in the downtown is essential and critical to economic vitality of this downtown district, and we are extremely pleased that the state has stepped forward with the support and CL&P has stepped forward with the support to make this happen."
Renovations on the theater are expected to be completed in 2015.