May 22--NORWALK -- Connecticut Light & Power Co. (CL&P) has given the redeveloper of the former Globe Theater on Wall Street a major financial boost.
Elected officials joined CL&P representatives at the building at 71 Wall St. midday Wednesday to announce that the utility company had agreed to purchase the theater's state historic tax credits in exchange for $1.81 million in support of ongoing renovations at the historic venue.
"CL&P is pleased to partner with the Wall Street Theater Company, the city of Norwalk and the state legislature in helping to turn the Globe Theater into a cultural destination," CL&P President Bill Herdegen said in a statement afterward. "We are committed to helping develop strong communities and the rehabilitation of the theater will be an integral part in the redevelopment of the Wall Street area, which has been a longstanding goal of the Norwalk community."
Wall Street Theater Co., a not-for-profit organization formed to refurbish the Globe Theater at 71 Wall St., purchased the property in January, and announced commencement of work in March.
Plans call for restoration of the theater into a multipurpose venue for live entertainment, conferences, assemblies and public performances.
The state has provided a $1.5 million grant toward to purchase the property. The overall project is anticipated to run $7.8 million.
The purchase of state tax credits, as announced Wednesday, will provide an additional $1.81 million in funding for the project, according to officials.
The tax credits will be offered through the state Department of Economic & Community Development's Office of Culture & Tourism.
Resale of tax credits is a common practice among recipients, although such sales often yield only a discounted rate of 80 percent or less of the credits' full value, according to officials.
"We are particularly fortunate to have reached an agreement with CL&P to purchase our historic tax credits at 100 percent of their full projected value," said Frank Farricker, Wall Street Theater Co. managing member. "These additional funds will enable us to expand the scope of our renovation project, which will now include restoration of an original vaudeville mural, amongst other things."
Farricker thanked state Sen. Bob Duff, D-25, for helping arrange the purchase of the tax credits.
Duff said redevelopment of the theater will provide a "real shot in the arm" to Wall Street.
"The Wall Street Theater is a true Norwalk institution, and its revival will help bring new life into the downtown area," Duff said in the statement. "Along with the construction of Wall Street Place and other economic development initiatives, we will be looking at a very different neighborhood in a very short period of time."
Also present at the announcement were state Reps. Bruce V. Morris, D-140, and Christopher R. Perone, D-137, as well as Norwalk Mayor Harry W. Rilling.
"The finished theater will be both a reminder of Norwalk's past and a bright light for the future of our downtown," Rilling said.
Remediation work is underway with completion of the larger project slated for mid-March 2015.
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