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Denton’s Historic Fine Arts Theatre Set for Revitalization

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Denton, TX – In a landmark decision on April 2nd, the Denton City Council approved an incentive agreement with Fine Arts Theatre LLC, earmarking $1.6 million for the restoration of the historic Denton Fine Arts Theatre. This initiative, funded through the city’s Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ), aims to revive the once-vibrant cultural site that first opened as the Graham Opera House in 1885 but has been mostly inactive since a devastating fire in 1982.

The project, spearheaded by local developers Alex Payne and Brad Andrus, is expected to rejuvenate the downtown area, adding a rich layer to Denton’s cultural and economic landscape. With construction slated to take 12 months, the grand reopening is anticipated in the summer of 2025.

The renewed Fine Arts Theatre will host a range of facilities and events, including a main theatre, a lobby, bar, and concession stand on the ground floor. A second-floor theatre with a bar offering views of the Square, and a private theatre on the third floor, are also part of the ambitious plans. The venue is designed to be a hub for live performances, movies, special events, film festivals, concerts, and private rentals, promising to become a central cultural and economic asset for the community.

Assistant City Manager Christine Taylor highlighted the significance of the project, stating, “Collaborating with dedicated developers to breathe new life into the Fine Arts Theatre represents a pivotal moment for Denton. This project provides an opportunity for historic preservation of an iconic anchor on the square that has so much meaning to our community.”

The theatre’s revitalization aligns with Denton’s broader economic development strategy, which focuses on enhancing the downtown area and fostering an authentic town square atmosphere, with a strong emphasis on arts and music. Beyond its cultural contributions, the project is expected to offer tangible benefits to the Denton community, including job training for university students, support for local nonprofits, and a venue for local festivals and events centered around cultural history.

To ensure the realization of this vision, Fine Arts Theatre LLC must meet specific conditions before the allocated funds are released. These include a minimum project investment of $5.8 million, the issuance of historic tax credits, securing a permanent loan, and obtaining a certificate of occupancy.

Denton’s initiative to restore the Fine Arts Theatre is a testament to the city’s commitment to preserving its vibrant culture while investing in projects that promise to spur community redevelopment and enhance the quality of life for its residents.

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