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The Agora Opens After $3 Million in Renovations and Hopes to Attract New Bands

The historic Agora theater in Cleveland opened the doors after renovations that cost more than $3 million. The owners said they’ve completely restored the venue, which is a big part of Cleveland’s rock heritage.

When concert promoter AEG Presents bought The Agora last year, Chief Operating Officer Shawn Trell would have been among the first to tell you the venue had fallen on hard times.

"The city would have lost this room. It was in pretty significant disrepair," he said.

Gone are the grimy walls, ripped seats and bathrooms you didn’t want to walk into. But Trell thinks it’s still the same Agora, a venue that has seen countless concert-goers over the years stream in for the who’s who of rock shows.

"So the trick was to do the work while still maintaining the charm and character and even the grit of the venue," he said.

The Agora has a new roof, restored tile flooring and even a new sound system.

Trell hopes the latter will attract acts of all genres, not just the music that once established it as the place to be for rock n’ roll in Cleveland.

Mark Arehart joined the award-winning WKSU news team as its arts/culture reporter in 2017. Before coming to Northeast Ohio, Arehart hosted Morning Edition and covered the arts scene for Delaware Public Media. He previously worked for KNKX in Seattle, Kansas Public Radio, and KYUK in Bethel, Alaska.