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Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack and representatives from city, regional, and state economic development organizations recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the newly renovated Clyde Theatre at Quimby Village, 1808 Bluffton Road, southwest of downtown Fort Wayne.

Ground was broken on the venue's more than $7.5 million renovation in July, 2017. Funding included a $1 million loan from the Fort Wayne Legacy Fund, to be repaid with property tax increment (TIF) funds from the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, generated by the project itself. Additional funds included a $1 million grant from the Northeast Indiana Regional Development Authority through the state's Regional Cities Initiative. The balance was funded by Sweetwater founder Chuck Surack and his wife, Lisa.

In 1949, Clyde Quimby commissioned architect A.M. Strauss to draw up plans for the Clyde Theatre at Quimby Village. Opening on April 19th, 1951, as a 1782 seat movie theatre, the Clyde was the region's premier movie house serving citizens from all over northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio. The theatre was closed in the early 1990's. The majority of interior finishes had been stripped away by previous owners, leaving nothing but a shell of memories.

Rick Kinney, now the Clyde's General Manager, purchased the vacant theater for $500 during a 2012 tax sale and worked to find partners to help with a complete renovation. The investment by the Suracks created the impetus for the involvement of the economic development organizations whose contributions were crucial to the success of the project.

Surack remarked, “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. 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.

Today this art deco masterpiece consists of a wide variety of features and amenities. The 21,000 square-foot main performance hall has had all of its fixed seats removed, and will be utilized as a 2,150 capacity, general admission, multi-functional concert hall and special events center. Chairs can be brought in to seat 830 in theater-style.

The 10,400 square-foot lobby houses the main entryway, an art gallery, and a new box office. The second story of the lobby will function as a VIP Gallery with box seating for live performances and a second art gallery. A 7,000 square-foot dressing room and artists hospitality wing, state of the art sound and light systems, a stage extension, and backstage loading docks, have been added to accommodate national touring acts. New HVAC, electrical, plumbing, acoustical plaster, roof, and executive offices were also part of the renovation.

The front exterior of the theater retains its art deco character, including a striking vertical pylon with “Clyde” on it, just like the original, above the marquee, which is now an electronic sign. The parking lots both in front of and behind the Clyde have been resurfaced, and the Bluffton Road curb sign has been completely redone.

In addition to a robust schedule of live concerts, events will include comedy acts and art gallery exhibitions. The Clyde will also provide rental and lease options to local customers and organizations interested in hosting private or public events at the venue, including weddings, receptions, corporate events and non-profit fundraisers.

"We are excited to have helped create a venue that prioritizes the experience, in every category, from safety to comfort, for both attendees and the artists,” Surack said, adding, “The Clyde will play host to a wide variety of artists and events – something for everyone – making it a true cultural asset to the region."
For more information about events and to purchase tickets, go to: http://clydetheatre.com  or call: (260) 747-0989.

About Sweetwater Sound
Founded in 1979, Sweetwater is the No. 1 online retailer of music instruments and audio gear in the U. S. The company is respected as the nation's leading retailer serving musicians, recording studios, broadcast, education, and houses of worship. Sweetwater's customers can be found everywhere music is heard and audio is played, broadcast, or recorded, including recording, film, and broadcast studios in New York, Nashville, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami; in hundreds of thousands of home recording studios; and in schools and churches nationwide. Sweetwater's founding and meteoric growth are built on a knowledgeable and experienced staff, outstanding selection and pricing, and, above all, an unwavering commitment to customer service excellence in every situation. For further information, visit Sweetwater.com.