Group works to buy and renovate historic St. James Calderone Theatre

The theater was built in the early 1900s to hold live performances and later became a movie theater.

News 12 Staff

Mar 8, 2023, 11:23 PM

Updated 403 days ago

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A group of residents is trying to raise enough money to buy the historic St. James Calderone Theatre.
Celebrate St. James wants to continue showcasing music and art while keeping the rich history right behind it.
The theater was built in the early 1900s to hold live performances and later became a movie theater.
Over the decades, the building has fallen into disrepair and lost its purpose.
"In any town on Long Island, it's always been shown that the cultural arts help businesses in the town grow and become prosperous, and it makes it a destination for people to come to," says Celebrate St. James vice president Jack Ader.
The organization has been utilizing the building as an art gallery - holding art shows to raise money to become the new owners.
The current landlord, Natalie Weinstein, purchased the building in 1985 and added a second floor to create more space to preserve its history and the architecture. Weinstein used to be the president of Celebrate St. James and is working with Ader and other members to keep the building as a performing arts center.
"The buildings of this size become either a medical building or be turned in condominiums," Weinstein says. "It would be rough to lose it."
Smithtown Town Supervisor Ed Wehrheim says renovating the theatre would bring an economic boom.
"We've done extensive work there to revitalize the St. James business district, and this theater is a big part of that," Wehrheim says.
News 12 is told the landlord has already gotten offers for the building, but none with the intention of keeping it as a performing arts center.
The plan to buy and renovate the historic building would cost around $2 million.
Celebrate St. James has been fundraising for over two years but still needs more donations to make the building their own.
To donate, click here.


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