Brooklyn's Strand Theatre Is Ready For Its Comeback
After a long intermission, a century-old theater in Fort Greene, Brooklyn is finally ready for its next act. NY1's Shazia Khan filed the following report.
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Houdini once performed at the historic Strand Theatre, and soon the magic will reappear for the Fort Greene landmark.
Officials broke ground Thursday for renovations at the Strand Theatre that will allow for live performances at the space for the first time in generations.
The long-awaited project will create a 250-seat performance space for the multi-disciplinary BRIC Arts Media Bklyn and expanded space for UrbanGlass, an organization dedicated to glass making and teaching.
The facility will also include a 3,000-square-feet contemporary arts gallery, a new television studio and shops, offering a dynamic space to audiences, artists and students.
"I feel like I've had a grin on my face for 24 hours," said BRIC Arts Media Bklyn Executive Director Leslie Schultz at the groundbreaking. "This very foreboding building, which has been blockaded up, basically cinderblocked up for years and years, will be open to the street and I think it's going to create a much more welcoming environment."
The Strand Theatre opened in 1918 as a vaudeville playhouse, one of many along Flatbush and Fulton at the time. Decades later, it was converted into a movie theater, then a bowling alley and even a print shop.
The $40 million renovation project, of which $33 million of it is paid for by the city, will make it a destination in the growing Brooklyn Academy of Music arts district.
"It will really be a center for arts and culture in Downtown Brooklyn. So it will attract artists business serving artists, it will attract glassmakers. It will attract tourists, both Brooklyn tourists, citywide tourists and around the country and world," said Downtown Brooklyn Partnership Chief Operating Officer Michael Burke.
Part of the theater's original facade, including the outside columns, will be preserved. Renovations are expected to be completed by 2013.