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Norwalk’s Globe Theater sold for $1.5M

The Globe Theater has hosted vaudeville and burlesque shows, movies and rock concerts in its 98-year history. The venue has been closed for more than 10 years

Updated, 4:25 p.m.: Clarification about Mary Kyriakides; Kydes comment: “We lost a ton of money.”

NORWALK, Conn. – The Globe Theater – a long neglected piece of the Norwalk redevelopment puzzle – has been sold to a company led by a man who has been seeking to restore it.

Mary Kyriakides sold 71 Wall St. to the Wall Street Theater Company for $1.5 million Tuesday, Jan. 7, according to records in the town clerk’s office. Kyriakides is listed in tax records as taking over the property from Wall 71 LLC in 2007 and buying the property for $555,000 in 2008.

Andrew Kydes, Kyriakides’s husband, said Tuesday that his wife bought half the property in 2006.  She went on to buy the other half in 2008, he said. Her total cost was more than $1 million, he said. There were carrying costs associated with owning the property. There were also legal expenses, he said.

Frank Farricker, the managing member of the Wall Street Theater Company, is quoted in Westfaironline as saying that he plans to a renovate it into a 780-seat theater with 24 fixed-position cameras and digital technology capable of streaming video over the web, while maintaining the historic integrity of the circa-1915 Norwalk icon. Farricker did not return a Monday evening phone call.

Last summer, the state Bond Commission approved $1.5 million to go toward renovating the theater. Kydes said Friday that grant has been transferred to the Wall Street Theater Company as part of the sale.

The project was discussed at an August 2011 Planning Committee meeting.

“The redevelopment of the Globe Theater (aka ‘The Norwalk Theater,’ ‘The Roxy,’ etc.) has long been considered a key element in Wall Street area’s revitalization,” the minutes read.

The Wall Street Theater’s website says, “The Wall Street Theater adopts its moniker from its location and its mission from its history, combining live shows, interactive entertainment, cinema, digital production, art space and a community arena in which to play. The Wall Street Theater is poised to be the where-to-go destination in downtown Norwalk, if not all of Fairfield County, Connecticut, with an anticipated completion date of Fall 2014.”

Farricker had been hoping to purchase the theater last summer, according to The Hour. The project is expected to cost $7.5 million. Farricker says in an It’s Relevant video that much of that will be done with tax credits.

Last summer, the theater company applied for a $1.5 million HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Section 108 guaranteed loan. There is no word of what became of that.

Kydes said the property has been empty since 2006. It was renovated after its’ use as a nightclub. He spent $70,000 on architects as part of a plan to convert it to apartments, he said. There were mortgage fees.

“We lost a ton of money on that,” he said.

Comments

15 responses to “Norwalk’s Globe Theater sold for $1.5M”

  1. anonymous

    Great news for Wall Street and a Norwalk landmark as that beautiful building has been left an eye-sore for years by the current owners.

  2. Benthere Donethat

    “…..will be done with tax credits.” Been there. Done that.

  3. EveT

    Looks like the Kyriakides / Kydes family made out pretty well if they bought the property for $555,000 in 2008 and now sold it for $1.5 million.

  4. dawn

    call me stupid. BUT I DON”T GET IT!!!
    If i buy a business, aren’t I responsible to get the business up and ready.
    I thought that the point of bringing in business to the city is to create tax REVENUE. Not further LIABILITY.
    I am happy to have South Norwalk be a safe and entertaining place to be.
    What is the benefit to the taxpayer. NADA. My taxes are going to go up to pay for someone elses goldmine. What else is new.

  5. Oldtimer

    Of course we wish the new owner success but the fact that so much tax money will be a large part of it is troubling. Many of us, reading this story, wonder what it takes to qualify for so much corporate welfare starting a new business. There are a lot of businessmen who would love to get a 1.5 million grant (gift) from the state, with good prospects for more.

  6. LWitherspoon

    Oldtimer asks some good questions.
    .
    What is the relationship of Andrew Kydes to Nick Kydes, former Common Councilman, and John Kydes, current Common Councilman? How do we know that there is no nepotism at play here?

  7. dawn

    Even little old me knows there had to be some back room dealing.
    .
    I wonder what renovations or improvement were made on the property to bring the price up a million bucks. if i take on the business and the chance of profit i need to take on the risk of loss as well.
    .
    you know what they say. you have to have money to make money, but this is truly a goldmine. What other property in SONO has increased in value like that. My guess is none.

    1. Mark Chapman

      @Dawn, EveT

      Andrew Kydes, who did not respond to a request for information for the original story, spoke with us Tuesday afternoon to clarify the ownership/sales information. Please see the story for the clarification.

  8. Dennis DiManis

    No public money should go into this project without a detailed plan out front:

    –Types of entertainment, examples of suggested performers
    –Business plan: ticket prices, projected operating costs, how many nights a week etc etc.
    –Target audience demos
    –Who are the professionals who will book it, market it, staff it, operate it? What is the marketing plan?

    This isn’t a game of “Oh let’s restore a nice old theater.” The concert biz is Tough Tough Tough, and so far this restoration sounds like a hose job on the public.

  9. EveT

    @Dennis DeManis, I would also ask, where are the customers supposed to park?

  10. jlightfield

    Norwalk has struggled to develop its historic downtown. The City of Norwalk has over the years, since 1955 to be exact, creates successive plans for encouraging outside development despite the challenges presented in revitalizing downtowns.
    .
    Note that the challenges of downtown revitalization is not just Norwalk, but throughout the country. Working performance venues, like the Globe, present economic opportunities and challenges. Without subsidy, the restoration of historical venues would not be possible. The tax credits, and financing used have been used in cities throughout Connecticut, whether it is Waterbury, Hartford, New Britain or New Haven to restore theaters and program them with cultural exhibits, performances and events. These in turn create local jobs, increase the economic activity of the area and further contribute to attracting investment that is synergistic to the activities.
    .
    I am happy for the start of rebuilding the Wall Street Theater Co’s new venue, it has been long process to bring this project together. I look forward to seeing downtown Norwalk become a cool place offering many things to do that support the local community.

  11. Dennis DiManis

    I agree that the theater has the potential to be the centerpiece of Wall St. revitalization.

    But would you invest your $$ without a detailed professional business plan projecting how the bills will be paid ongoing? Lower Fairfield Co. is a far more competitive entertainment market than Waterbury, New Haven, et al. Currently running concert venues here include FTC, Ridgefield Playhouse, Capitol Theater, Klein Auditorium, Stamford Palace–and then there’s Manhattan.

    Renovating a building is one thing; consistently drawing crowds and turning a profit is quite another.

  12. Jlightfield

    Here’s the secret about detailed business plans for start ups: They are based on fantasy numbers fueled by optimism and enthusiasm. That being said operational numbers or expenses are much more reality based. To that end the Fairfield Theater Co. has detailed operational projections and expenses. Those numbers fueled the dollars needed for investment. By the time the renovation is finished revenue projections and market needs will have changed a dozen times. And that is being conservative. To provide an example, the recent cold weather we have experienced has adversely affected revenue on everything from durable goods, entertainment and even shipping companies. No one could predict what the business model was going to be and while Fortune 500 companies certainly hedge against risk, a small community theater in a city if 85k isn’t able to tap into that level of financial forecasting. As an entrepreneur, I respect anyone who has a vision and energy to risk investment in something that has more benefit to the community than a fantasy ROI.

  13. Mike Mushak

    Conceptually, great idea. I think more clarity and transparency are needed about the funding, since I recall questions were raised last year by some in the community about the city using the HUD Community Development Block Grants to guarantee the loan. I believe these funds amount to a couple of million a year that are distributed to local organizations involved with helping minority, low-income, children, and elderly in the community (hence the name of the program). Are these needy organizations that rely on these grants at any risk if the theater project fails as a business, which would be unfortunate but which does happen?
    .
    Also, do we have the same entity (Norwalk Redevelopment Agency) administering these federal funds that is also the largest chosen recipient of those funds, and is there any inherent conflict of interest here? I’m just repeating questions that have been asked by many others, and I think full transparency here would be helpful to put these concerns to rest sooner rather than later, when these issues may come up again as the project progresses.

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