The historic State Theatre in St. Petersburg has a new owner with a new vision for the venue.
St. Petersburg philanthropist and realtor Kevin Chadwick purchased the historic theater though his family trust. The building was constructed in 1924 and has for decades served as a music venue. Chadwick is planning to spend an additional $1 million on rennovations to the interior and exterior of the building.
Chadwick, who has been a real estate agent in Tampa Bay for more than 35 years, said his mother and father had their first date at the State Theatre and he wants the property to be a family legacy.
"The main focus for me is to create a legacy property," he said. "I want to create a real foundation for my family to have generations of commitment to the city of St. Petersburg."
The first phase of renovation, which is expected to start as early as next week, will be dealing with the fire code violations that have plagued previous owners. The historic facade will then be restored, followed by renovations to the interior bar and stage beginning in the spring of 2019. The restoration work will include a new marquee.
Chadwick said he envisions the State Theatre as a functional historic landmark in a downtown landscape that is quickly being transformed by new development.
"You're walking down the sidewalk and you have all these really wonderful new changes, new beautiful buildings going up, and then you look over and you see this time capsule of the State Theatre," he said. "But, technologically, the moment you walk inside, we want it to have the benefits of everything that's happening currently."
Future plans for the State Theatre also include tweaking the rock show focus of the venue. The theatre will continue to host live music, Chadwick said, but will also host a broader range of public and private events and will be a bar destination.
"One of the biggest changes in the operation of the theater is we are going to open the theater nightly, even if there is not a show, as a real authentic, nostalgic bar to go to," he said.
A team of local developers is being recruited to carry out the makeover, including architects John Bodziak and Jordan Behar and Boyd Construction Company.