Downtown: Developers making progress on Concord’s newest music venue 

  • Concord developer Steve Duprey and Capitol Center for the Arts executive director Nicki Clarke walk through the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, on Wednesday. The theater is expected to open in June. Caitlin Andrews photos / Monitor staff

  • Concord developer Steve Duprey points out the original beams in the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, on March 27, 2019. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • The inside of the Capitol Center for the Arts's new theater as it’s being constructed is shown on March 27, 2019. The theater is expected to open in June with up to 400 seats, with an upstairs bar. The original brickwork will remain. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • A worker adjusts a tarp covering the stairwell in the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, on March 27, 2019. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • The inside of the Capitol Center for the Arts's new theater as it’s being constructed is shown on March 27, 2019. The theater is expected to open in June with up to 400 seats, with an upstairs bar. The original brickwork will remain. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • The inside of the Capitol Center for the Arts's new theater as it’s being constructed is shown on March 27, 2019. The theater is expected to open in June with up to 400 seats, with an upstairs bar. The original brickwork will remain. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • The inside of the Capitol Center for the Arts's new theater as it’s being constructed is shown on March 27, 2019. The theater is expected to open in June with up to 400 seats, with an upstairs bar. The original brickwork will remain. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • The exterior of the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, looks a bit different, but inside is where you can see the biggest change.

  • Workers chat in the alley next to the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage. The circa-1900 building that once housed OutFITters Thrift Store, could eventually be moved elsewhere. More photos at concordmonitor.com. Caitlin Andrews / Monitor staff

  • An old brick oven wedged inside the walls of the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, on March 27, 2019. Before it was a movie venue, the Theatre was a bakery. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Concord developer Steve Duprey points shows where construction workers had to dig into the sandy soil under the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, on March 27, 2019. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

  • Concord developer Steve Duprey (left) chats with Capitol Center for the Arts assistant executive director Joe Gleason in the old Concord Theatre, now the Bank of New Hampshire Stage, on March 27, 2019. Caitlin Andrews—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 3/31/2019 5:57:23 PM

The old screen is gone and the walls are stripped to the brick, and it looks like the Bank of New Hampshire Stage is closing in on opening night.

There is still much to be done before the lights go up at what used to be the Concord Theatre. And with the Cap Center advertising its first show for June 22 – the culmination of Market Days – the clock is ticking.

But it’s a little easier now to picture yourself in line for a concert or having a drink at the upstairs bar.

The area where rows of seats used to be has been replaced by a shiny black floor, leading up to the bones of what will eventually be the stage. Gone are the powder-blue walls that used to line the main room. Instead, a mosaic of different-colored bricks have been exposed and will remain exposed to event-goers when the theater opens up.

There are also murals of nature scenes – mountains, palm trees, a sun – on the bricks whose origins are a mystery to the Cap Center folks. They’ll be sticking around, too, except for the golfer on the back wall where a screen used to be.

Looking back toward the front of the building, you can almost imagine the 11 rows of accordion seating that will come out for events. Tilt your gaze up and you can see the foundations of the balcony seating, which Concord developer Steve Duprey will tell you took “a lot of steel to build.”

It took a lot of steel to shore up the old Concord Theatre, thanks to a weaker-than-expected roof.

Concrete has been critical, too – construction crews had to dig through two feet of sandy, gravelly soil before hitting ground solid enough to hold the pillars out front.

Keeping with the earth material theme, giant boulders had to be removed to make room for a kitchen and a ticket vestibule, said Cap Center assistant executive director Joe Gleason. Wedged into a wall is a brick oven left over from the theater’s first life as a bakery.

You won’t have much access to the venue during the day, because the entryway will be mostly taken up by mobile ticket booths. Those will roll off to the side during the evening; unlike at the Cap Center, tickets won’t be taken until you actually enter the stage area in an effort to encourage people to hang out in the upstairs bar prior to the show.

You won’t just be able to get drinks upstairs. Gleason said there are plans to put a portable stage up there, so the Cap Center can book pre-and-post shows and small acts.

Fundraising for the $6.4 million project is coming along, said Cap Center executive director Nicki Clarke, with about $1.2 million to go.

For those who don’t remember, Duprey essentially bought the old theater for the Cap Center to capitalize on new market tax credits, a critical piece of the funding for the renovation. The Cap has since bought the theater back from Duprey.

Outside and along the theater’s side, Duprey said he’s thinking a “mini-Nashville” with tons of lights and subgrade heating, so you never have to worry about snow in the winter. There will be, of course, outdoor music.

But really, the theater’s renovation is just part of Duprey’s goals for that section of downtown. 

First, he wants someone to buy 20 S. Main St., which used to hold the OutFITters Thrift Store run by Families in Transition for almost a decade. Ideally, buying the circa-1900 building would also mean moving it somewhere else; Duprey said he can’t use it, but someone else might see a vision for the space.

Once that’s out of the way, Duprey envisions bringing a vintage 1940s Paterson Vehicle Company Silk City diner to Main Street. He just so happens to have bought one recently from the Michael Dingman estate out in Kensington, and is keeping it in storage on Route 106.

From there, he’s thinking maybe another hotel, or an additional restaurant or two.

A parking lease of a different kind

Speaking of Duprey hotel projects, the developer snagged a key lease deal with the state for his S. Main Street Tru Hotel.

The Executive Council approved last week a five-year lease of property alongside Interstate 93 where the Days Inn motel used to be. The lease will cost the developer $7,500 a year for the first four years and $5,625 for the last year.

Duprey is hoping to turn the space into parking for a restaurant he’s hoping to pair with his new hotel.

State law allows the Council to sell or lease out land leftover from infrastructure projects. First dibs are supposed to go to the local municipality, but if they don’t want it, real estate developers are welcome to bid for the land.

Animal magnetism

You’ve heard of the cat show at the Everett Arena – now get ready for sloths at the Steeplegate Mall.

The Foundation for Animal Rescue and Education is teaming up with Little Ray’s Nature Centers to bring an event called the Natural History Exhibition on Saturday and Sunday at the mall.

Critters also include snakes, armadillos, possums, tortoises, bunnies and ferrets – but the sloths seem to be taking center stage.

There will also be educational presentations. For schedules and tickets, check out the event’s Facebook page.

 

(Caitlin Andrews can be reached at 369-3309, candrews@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @ActualCAndrews.)




Concord Monitor Office

1 Monitor Drive
Concord,NH 03301
603-224-5301

 

© 2019 Concord Monitor
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy