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Newly renovated historic Florida Theatre reopening on October 28

October 17th, 2023 · Leave a Comment

The newly renovated historic Florida Theatre in downtown Jacksonville is set to reopen on Saturday, Oct. 28, 2023, at 8 p.m. for The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  Mayor Donna Deegan and other dignitaries will participate in a ribbon cutting on Friday, October 27, 2023, at 5:30 p.m. inside the lobby/auditorium for the big reveal.

The Florida Theatre has been closed since mid-July (2023) to renovate the 96-year-old facility.  All the flaking and peeling decorative plaster in the auditorium has been repaired, the lobbies and the auditorium have been painted with fidelity to the 1927 color palette, the entire heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system has been replaced, and the building’s electrical vault has been moved from the first to the third floor.  But probably the thing people will notice the most is that all the public restrooms have been updated.  Ironically, the Florida Theatre will reopen around the 40th anniversary of the last major renovation that took place in 1983.

These projects build upon projects that have already been accomplished at the Florida Theatre, which include replacing the Theatre’s 1,865 seats, doubling the wheelchair seating capacity, installing a new assistive listening system for people who are hard of hearing, improving the aisle lighting and handrails, especially in the balcony, installing a new concert sound system and lighting system, and repurposing the second floor of the office building into the new Remedy Lounge, which was the first expansion of the venue’s public space in 95 years.

This project has been a labor of love…from The City of Jacksonville (who has matched private donations) to the Centennial Campaign donors to Florida Theatre Members to the Principal Artisans below who have been feverishly restoring the building to its original grandeur over the summer…and everyone in Northeast Florida who has ever bought a ticket to a show at the Florida Theatre and paid the $4.50 restoration fee…to maintain and preserve this Jacksonville jewel.

“The Florida Theatre is one of downtown Jacksonville’s gems.  With its 100th birthday approaching, this is an exciting time to restore the Theatre to its full splendor,” said Mayor Donna Deegan.  “I look forward to seeing the Theatre’s facelift and supporting our City’s vibrant performing arts scene by attending a show when it reopens – and I encourage everyone to do the same.”

Auld and White Constructors was the general contractor for this project.  Sauer Mechanical did the HVAC work.  EverGreene Architectural Arts did all the plaster/paint work and restored the tapestries.  And Beacon Electric moved the electrical vault from the first to the third floor so it would no longer be a flood risk.

All of these projects, under the banner of the Centennial Capital Improvement Plan, which started in 2019, aim to prepare the historic Florida Theatre for its 100th birthday in 2027 and the next 100 years.

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