The recent sale of the iconic Beach Theatre on Corey Avenue in St. Pete Beach is already generating a lot of buzz.
More than 100 people gathered at the St. Pete Beach Community Center to voice their ideas for the venue to Christopher Scott of Scott Commercial Holdings, the new owner of the Beach Theatre. Hendrik Bisanz, broker for SeaSalt Properties who handled the sale of the Beach Theatre, and business partner to Scott, said they hope the newest incarnation of the space will be “along the lines of what it used to be, with added entertainment.”
Scott received more than 100 emails expressing ideas for the theater. He sat down with the live audience and tested the waters during the hour-long meeting on September 15 at 5:30 p.m.
“The consensus was really that we try and put the building back in some capacity to its original use as a movie theater, but there was also a lot of interest in making it into an actual theater where people could perform on stage,” Scott said. “We’ve felt very fortunate to land in such a community where everyone wants to actually speak up and take an interest in this.”
Other ideas included a dinner movie theater, productions of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” – a tradition some may remember from the Beach Theatre’s days of yore – and a live music venue. But, stressed Scott, they are still very much in the idea phase.
“The first stage really is that we’re hoping to get some architects or some people that have experience on redesigning spaces to come forward and help, or whether it’s on a voluntary basis,” Scott said.
Many people have expressed interest in helping reconstruct the theater, according to Scott. He mentioned that the building itself is sturdy, however the interior and the roof need work.
While Scott and Bisanz are researching refurbishments, consulting structural engineers and evaluating funding for rebuilding, the timeline for reopening is still up in the air.
“Our budget can really range dramatically,” Bisanz said. “You can spend as little as $200,000 to make something work there, and I’m sure you can also spend $2 million to invest in the place. Depending on what we decide it should be, the budget will be determined and then we will look into how to fund that.”
Bisanz notes that the project is just beginning.
“Ultimately we have to get to the point where we can involve the people that can really turn it into a business now,” Bisanz said.