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Hat City Makeover: Danbury to Convert Shuttered Music Hall into Community Theater

Hat City Makeover: Danbury to Convert Shuttered Music Hall into Community Theater

Adaptive re-use of existing structures is one of the lynchpins of urban redevelopment and examples of successful projects are abundant throughout Connecticut in the downtown centers of cities small and large. Many cities, like Waterbury and Torrington, have refurbished historic theaters which have become magnets in their revitalized downtowns.

Now Danbury is moving forward with plans to purchase a vacant downtown club that once hosted music venues and convert it into a 7,000-square-foot community theater that would seat about 250 people.

The former Tuxedo Junction concert hall is in a strategic location on a pedestrian walkway adjacent to Main Street, right in the middle of the downtown and in close proximity to 370 new apartments at Kennedy Place.

Unique design back to top

The brick building, with 20-foot ceilings, a balcony and a stage, used to host musical performers from the famous -- like Joan Jett and Kansas -- to the nearly forgotten, like the alt rock band Lemonheads. In recent years, the club hosted smaller bands and even live wrestling events.

“This could be a potential anchor for some of the work we want to do downtown,” Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton said. “Our goal is to renovate it with an industrial warehouse feel that could be used to stage anything from Christmas programs to having a promoter come in and rent the space.”

Mayor Boughton said he got the idea about turning the building into a theater last year when it closed.

“We are in the process of working out the management structure,” he said. “For example, it could be operated by the city or by a non-profit group.”