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Even Keel Event Productions President Rick Kinney was joined by Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, members of the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority (RDA), City Council members, neighborhood residents and supporters today to celebrate the start of renovation and expansion of the Clyde Theatre, 1808 Bluffton Road.

Kinney, who owns the Clyde, first envisioned restoration of the art deco building into a 2,200-capacity multifunctional performing arts center seven years ago when he found the building abandoned on the south side of Fort Wayne. Since that time, he has been working with local investors and government officials to make his dream a reality.

Quimby Clyde“I’m extremely thrilled to get this construction project underway,” said Kinney. “I am grateful to the many supporters who have cheered me on and partnered with me to bring the vision to life. Once completed, the Clyde will provide unique opportunities to experience music and art in northeast Indiana and will help boost economic development on the south side of Fort Wayne.”

“I commend Rick for his determination in making this project happen,” said Mayor Henry. “Our commitment to urban and neighborhood revitalization is continuing with this unique renovation and expansion effort. Fort Wayne continues to be a leader in innovative projects. We’re confident the Clyde Theatre will be a tremendous asset to the community and region.”

The Clyde Theatre at Quimby Village was built by Clyde Quimby and opened in 1951 as a 1,782 seat movie theatre and quickly became a hub of activity, drawing visitors from throughout the region. It closed in 1993, and has been vacant ever since. Kinney saw the building’s potential and purchased it in 2012.

Plans for the Clyde include a 2,200 capacity, general admission, multi-functional performing arts and special events center, unlike any other in the region. The theatre’s 10,400 square foot, two-story grand lobby will function as an art gallery focusing on sculpture, object, glass and functional art. The current project will include restoration work and the addition of a dressing room and performers’ lounge adjacent to the stage.The theatre will be the only one of its kind in the region and will draw performances that currently only hit markets such as Chicago, Indianapolis and Cleveland.

The total project cost is $5 million and construction is expected to be complete by the summer of 2018. Financing includes a City of Fort Wayne Legacy loan of $1 million, which will be repaid with tax increment financing, approved by the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission. A $1 million investment was recommended by the Northeast Indiana RDA, which was approved by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation through the Regional Cities Initiative fund. The renovation and project is also supported by private investors Chuck and Lisa Surack, as well as Even Keel Event Productions.

Hagerman Construction is the construction manager and MSKTD & Associates is the project architect.

See the layout here.