Community Theatre officially on the market
Updated 9:34 am, Friday, December 15, 2017
FAIRFIELD — Is there a second act in the offing for the Community Theatre?
The long-shuttered and vacant iconic movie house that sits in a prominent place at the corner of Post and Unquowa roads, is officially for sale, with an asking price of $5.9 million.
David Gorbach, of Colonial Realty, confirmed that he is the exclusive listing agent for the property.
“I have been fielding inquiries for over a year,” Gorbach said, “and have a list of very interested buyers.”
The fact that the property is simply up for sale is good news to Keith Rhodes, a former member of the Economic Development Commission, who started an online petition in March order to get owner David Pollack and family to sell the property. Over 5,780 people have signed Rhodes’ petition.
The movie theater, which first opening around 1920, closed for good in 2011, after being operated by a non-profit foundation for about 10 years. Leo Redgate, the non-profit’s founder, was reluctant to hold a fundraiser to raise the money needed to make repairs without a long-term lease, or purchase agreement, neither of which he could secure.
In 2015, First Selectman Mike Tetreau stepped in, making calls to Pollack on behalf of Kleban Properties, which was interested in developing the property. Kleban Properties’ calls were never returned, and Tetreau wasn’t any more successful.
“It is great to see progress on the Community Theatre - getting it on the market is a very big step,” Tetreau said. “The Community should be the keystone to our downtown.”
And the Klebans may still be interested. +We are pleased to see that the theater is on the market and are reviewing the offering materials,” Evan Kleban said.
In updating his petition supporters, Rhodes said his guess is that the theater will sell for far less than the asking price, estimating it will sell in the high $3 million to low $4 million range.
“Please know that this will not be an overnight process, but it’s great progress, nonetheless, Rhodes said.
The building is 20,083 square feet, including a 2,654-square-foot balcony.
Tetreau said he can’t wait to see it being developed into something that brings people downtown. “This is another step forward for our town and economic development.”
With this latest action on the property, Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart said, “We continue to work with the property owner, broker and prospective buyers to facilitate the sale of this iconic property.”
Students at Sacred Heart University’s Jack F. Welch College of Business graduate program even conducted a survey, and Rhodes said, 97 percent of the 1,901 people who responded were aware of the theater and were “overwhelmingly positive” about a potential redevelopment.
According to Vision Appraisal, the property at 1410 Post Road is appraised at $2.6 million, with a $1.8 million assessment. That, however, includes the Old Post Tavern. It was purchased by Norman Pollack in 1976 and turned over to David D. Pollack Associates, LLC.