MANCHESTER — City officials announced over the weekend an agreement has been finalized between the Manchester Development Corporation and the Palace Theatre to redevelop the Rex Theatre site.
Peter Ramsey, president and CEO of the Palace Theatre, has scheduled a groundbreaking ceremony — or in this case, more of a “wallbreaking” ceremony for the Rex Theatre project for Monday, Jan 28, at 12:30 p.m. at the 23 Amherst St. property. The event will feature a quick presentation and celebration of the restoration of the theater.
City aldermen voted in October to approve a partnership between the Manchester Development Corporation (MDC) and The Palace Theatre to renovate and operate the Rex Theatre as a performance venue. Under the agreement, the MDC is loaning the Palace Theatre $1.7 million to renovate the building into a 300-seat multi-use theater and function space.
Under the terms of the agreement, the Palace Theatre will repay that loan — with a 2 percent annual interest — over 10 years. Palace Theatre officials hope to have the renovations to the circa 1920 building completed by Oct. 19.
“The community is so excited by the opportunity in our city to have live entertainment and music,” Mayor Joyce Craig said. “Another place where the community can gather and socialize. It will be great for our city and I’m thrilled that the Palace is involved. They’ve been so successful here on Hanover Street with all that they’ve done, I have no doubt that Peter Ramsey is going to do a great job, and he already has in terms of moving this forward.”
In 2001, Manchester officials temporarily closed a club there because of crowding they deemed life-threatening, and for other safety code violations. A fire that same year also temporarily shuttered the club, which came under scrutiny because of patrons getting arrested after leaving the venue.
The club finally closed permanently several years later.