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Revamped Clyde Theatre officially opens

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - Sweetwater, city, regional and state officials cut the ribbon on the renovated Clyde Theatre Tuesday afternoon. 

Clyde Theatre General Manager Rick Kinney purchased the Quimby Village theatre for just $500 during a tax sale in 2012. Kinney worked to find partners to help bring it back to life.

In 1949, Clyde Quimby commissioned architect A.M. Strauss to draw up plans the theatre. It opened in 1951 as a 1,782 seat movie theatre. It closed in the early 1990s. 

Today, the art deco venue has a 21,000 square foot main performance hall. All fixed chairs were removed from the space, giving it 2,150 capacity. It can seat up to 830 when chairs are brought into the hall.

There's also a large dressing room and hospitality wing, state-of-the-art-lights and sound system and new facility hardware.

Last week, crews put up the front exterior art deco "Clyde" sign, just like the original.

Sweetwater President and CEO, Chuck Surack, and his wife, Lisa, decided to invest in the venture and bring in other economic development organizations. 

“For Lisa and me, this was all about giving back to the community, and the music community in particular, which has supported us over the years, said Surack. "We wanted to create a world-class performance venue unlike anything else in Fort Wayne, or the region, which we hope will become a popular touring venue for performers from around the world."

Ground was broken on the project in July 2017 starting with more than $7.5 million. The Fort Wayne Legacy Fund gave a $1 million loan to be repaid with property tax increment funds.

Another $1 million came from the state's Regional Cities Initiative. The City of Fort Wayne also gave a $40,000 facade grant.

The Clyde Theatre also announced a new performance on Tuesday. Grammy winning band Blues Traveler will play at the theatre July 26.

The Clyde Theatre's first official show is May 12. For a full list of concerts, click here.


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