Efforts to restore The Madison Theatre in Downtown Peoria are moving forward

Local News

PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A newly formed non-profit is working to polish up a local diamond in the rough.

Eric Heard, Acting Chairman for The Madison Theatre Restoration committee, said there is an agreement in place for $1.3 Million to purchase the retail portion of the Madison Theatre on Main and Madison.

Once the deal is finalized, the Comfort family, who currently own the building, will then donate the theatre portion to the non-profit Madison Preservation Association, who will look to raise funds for restoration efforts towards the building.

Heard said the restored theatre could be used for a number of things.

“For any type of arts and events that they’ve had before there. They’ve had movies, they’ve had symphonies, they’ve had regular concerts, comedy shows, a variety of different activities,” said Heard.

Heard also said local restaurant Two25, formerly located in the Mark Twain Hotel, will move into the retail space on Main and Madison.

“Phil Caplis, who is the operator of the Mark Twain Hotel, he’s already agreed to move over there, assuming that everything comes together with the acquisition of the property,” said Heard.

Funds to renovate the theatre will have to come from multiple sources, said Heard.

“That’s gonna be a lengthy campaign. It’s going to be … a financial campaign for investors, those who want to make contributions that way, [and] it’s also gonna be combined with historic tax credits, and new market tax credits as well.”

Heard said the theatre reopening would be beneficial for the downtown area.

“Between the Pere Marquette and the Four Points Sheraton, you kind of need something there, so anything that’s going to occupy hotel rooms, and is going to bring more people down for restaurants, it’s best for the city overall,” said Heard.

Earlier in June, J.D. Comfort, a representative for the Comfort family told WMBD News he’s excited for the building’s future.

“We’re thrilled, you know. I think that’s going to be the key to downtown Peoria, the sale and the renovation of the theater,” Comfort said. “When that theater was running, when they had concerts down there, everybody in downtown Peoria prospered from it.”

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