Thursday, October 22, 2009

Georgia Theatre Update

The Athens Historic Preservation Commission voted Wednesday to grant the owner of the Georgia Theatre permission to raise the landmark structure from the ashes of a fire that destroyed the building last June.

Once it is rebuilt, owner Wilmot Greene said, the Georgia Theatre will look as it did before the fire on June 19 but with some modifications. Stained glass windows will be on the front of the structure and there will be rooftop barbecue restaurant. Also, there will be a museum and an art gallery on the mezzanine level of the new building.

Greene said he will soon begin securing the required city permits to rebuild the inside of the theater and he hopes to reopen next year.

But Greene also needs to raise money for the repairs.

There is a solicitation for donations on the theater’s Web site. The Georgia Trust is taking donations for repairs to the outside of the building.

Greene has said he bought the theater five years ago for $1.5 million and had spent almost $750,000 on the 1930s-style art deco renovation when the landmark burned on June 19.

He told the Athens Banner-Herald it will cost much more than what he has put into the theater because now it must comply with 2009 building codes. Greene plans to make the inside look as it did before the fire.

“It’s in my best interest to keep it beautiful and historic,” Greene told the Athens newspaper.

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