Community Theater to open its doors again by next year
FAIRFIELD — Nearly a decade since it shut down, the Community Theater on the Post Road is expected to reopen next year as the Sacred Heart University Community Theater.
Sacred Heart officials, town representatives and residents gathered at a morning conference Tuesday on 1410 Post Road for the official announcement of the renovation and long-term efforts.
“This project is another example of how a university gives back to the community where it resides. We plan to turn this into a contemporary venue for the university and the community while maintaining much of the classical features that have been part of downtown Fairfield for 100 years,” Sacred Heart University President John Petillo said.
The university is signing a 10-year lease with Kleban Properties to turn the site into a venue for “high-profile lectures, author talks, unique films, concerts and performances” open to the entire community.
“Kleban Properties will be looking to the town of Fairfield for assistance in various forms to ensure that this exciting opportunity becomes reality,” Ken Kleban, president of the eponymous company, said.
That assistance comes in the form of tax abatements.
The Board of Selectmen at their special meeting Wednesday will consider entering into an agreement “to fix the assessment of the property at 1410 Post Road for a period of ten years.”
Tetreau said that a proposal to give a full tax abatement for the next four years and a partial abatement for the six years after was to be considered at the Wednesday meeting.
If approved by the Board of Selectmen, the proposal would then require approval from the Representative Town Meeting, Tetreau said.
“I am thrilled that the Community Theater, which has long been an iconic landmark in our town filled with special memories for so many of us, will finally be reopened,” Tetreau said. “
Property records show that the 1410 Post Road locale was bought by Norman Pollack in 1976 and then by David Pollack in 2002. According to a 2017 valuation, the property was appraised at $2.6 million.
“Thank you to Kleban Properties and Sacred Heart University for saving this historic gem which will add to the vibrancy of our downtown and help Fairfield’s art and cultural scene continue to flourish,” Tetreau added.
The Community Theater first opened its doors in 1920 and has been shut down since 2011. According to officials, the theater will see a full-scale renovation and will have at least 400 seats by next year.