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Partnership to Bring New Life to Main Street's Regent Theater

By Eric Richardson
Published: Friday, April 24, 2009, at 01:51PM
Dave and Tom Ed Fuentes

Little Radio's Dave Conway and developer Tom Gilmore stand outside the Regent Theater on Friday.

Those walking down Main street might notice something different at the Regent Theater: red letters on one side of the marquee were removed this morning, revealing the intact white neon tubing underneath.

It's the first of many changes for the 1914 theater. Yesterday, developer Tom Gilmore and music promoter Little Radio inked a deal to partner on returning the venue to regular use.

Little Radio took over one of the retail spaces in the theater back in February, moving in a studio for the outfit's online radio station and planning to build out a vinyl record shop. At the time, talks between Gilmore and Little Radio for the theater were in process, but no deal had been reached.

Little Radio's Dave Conway said that new plans have both of those uses moving one door north, to the other of the Regent's two spaces. A clothing store will temporarily occupy the southern space, and eventually Conway plans to turn the space into a cafe.

While programming in the theater will start quickly, and plans don't call for any major renovation work, Conway does intend to do work that will make the space more functional and a better neighbor. The theater today has no barriers between the main room and the sidewalk, and a show earlier this year brought some complaints about noise. "I want people to know that we're going to be making improvements," Conway said, "not just throwing shows."

Gilmore said today that he's excited about the new partnership. "We finally found the right mix," he said of his deal with Little Radio. "It feels natural." Other operators were interested in the venue, but Gilmore connected with Conway's vision for the space and how it fits into the neighborhood. "It was an easy decision," he said.

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