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Arts and Entertainment


The Agora Theater is looking forward to brighter days
The donation of the theater means redevelopment for the entire neighborhood
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
and VALERIE BROWN


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
The LoConti's donated the Agora Theater to MidTown Cleveland Inc. late last year. The agency is partnering with a private developer to redevelop the rundown midtown region.
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In The Region:
The Agora theater has been donated to a Cleveland non-profit—which has big plans to improve it and the surrounding neighborhood. M.L. Schultze has more on the old theater's new life.
The Agora Theater is looking forward to brighter days

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The LoConti family donated the nearly 100 year old theater and an adjacent office complex to MidTown Cleveland Inc. in late December.

Jim Haviland is executive director of MidTown. The group plans to convert the office space for use by small, high-tech businesses, and the theater itself--known for decades as a rock venue--will continue to host live acts. Haviland says a public-private partnership will be doing two million dollars in upgrades.

Haviland says the theater needs major improvements to attract performers.

Haviland: “A lot of artists, I think, would call Henry LoConti friend. And we’re hoping that some of that magic will return when there is a venue that would complement Henry’s legacy and his expertise.”

Henry LoConti opened the Agora in 1966, moving to East 24th Street from 1967 until a fire gutted that building in 1984. The Agora moved to its current location in 1986.  By the late 1980s it was hosting as many as 200 rock act a year.

But, the midtown region lags in the redevelopment going on downtown and in the University Circle area.

Haviland says the intersection at Euclid and 55th street will be redubbed “Penn Square”— a nod to its early days as a stop on the Pennsylvania Railroad.

Haviland: “We think it just helps to describe an area now that is different than this intersection and this crossroad. We wanted to give the Agora name support.”

The theater opened in 1913 as an opera house.


Related Links & Resources
The Agora Theater

MidTown Cleveland Incorporated - "Historic Cleveland Agora to be Rejuvenated"

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