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Restored State Theatre marquee a public/private restoration project

5/16/2018
Photo / Maureen Milliken
Photo / Maureen Milliken
The State Theatre marquee on Congress Street in Portland has been restored to its original design.

PORTLAND — The marquee on Portland’s State Theatre has been restored with support from the city’s Facade Improvement Grant match program.
The marquee on the theater at the corner of Congress and High streets, which was built in 1929 as a movie theater, was restored using photos from the 1930s as a guide, city officials said.
The 1,500-seat theater now hosts live music.
The building is owned by a partnership that includes Alex Crothers, who owns Higher Ground Presents in Burlington, Vt., and the Bowery Presents, of New York, as well as developer Redstone, also of Burlington.
“Historic preservation is an important element of our work as real estate developers,” said Erik Hoekstra, of Redstone. “Restoring the marquee was identified as a critical project when we acquired the building with partners in 2015. We look forward to additional investments in this landmark building and continuing to be part of a strong wave of revitalization in Portland.”
Crothers, who has been part of the theater ownership since 2010, said that most of the focus has been on interior renovations.
“We’re thrilled to finally restore the only remaining historic marquee in Portland,” he said. “This is just another terrific step in the rejuvenation of the Congress Street corridor.”
Scott Simons was the project architect, and he worked with Portland’s Historic Preservation Board. Local contractor and property management company Southern Maine Rentals LLC managed the restoration of the marquee structure.
The one difference from the original is the illuminated side panels that advertise upcoming shows. Those were fabricated by Neokraft Signs, of Lewiston
The restoration features nearly 800 individual light bulbs and reproduction metal panels, lettering and scroll work.
“This collaboration serves as an excellent example of a public-private partnership working well,” the news release said.
The city provided a $18,000 grant, funded by a federal Community Development Block Grant, which was matched with more than $95,000 of investment by the owners.
“It has been a great pleasure for the city to partner with the building and theater owners on this magnificent and historic marquee restoration,” said Mayor Ethan Strimling at a ribbon-cutting earlier this week. “The State Theatre marquee will now and long into the future underscore the rich cultural heritage of Portland and today's exciting creative economy.”