FITCHBURG – The restoration and rehabilitation of the historic Main Street Theater Block received significant support last week with a grant of $ 475,000 from MassDevelopment’s underutilized property program, according to a university announcement.
Fitchburg State University purchased the theater block in 2016 and the funds, awarded to the Fitchburg State University supporting organization, will help reactivate several long-vacant showcases, according to the university. .
The theater block, located at 689-701 Main Street, is considered a flagship property in downtown Fitchburg. University-to-block renovations to date include a game design studio and an interdisciplinary idealab for local contractors. The game design studio is home to the semester-long synthesis experience for students enrolled in the program, the first major of its kind at a public university in Massachusetts, according to the university.
“This grant brings us one step closer to revitalizing a key downtown Fitchburg asset and continues our commitment to supporting the city’s evolution as an arts and cultural center for the region,” said the president of the Fitchburg State, Richard S. Lapidus. âThese projects will improve the quality of life for the general public and provide valuable opportunities for the university community.
The funding will help reactivate storefront spaces ranging from 500 to 2,200 square feet to accommodate restaurants / cafes, retail stores, art galleries and studios.
The $ 7.5 million allocated statewide in the first round of funding for the Underutilized Properties program will fund capital improvements and pre-development work to increase the rate of development. occupation in difficult properties, creating new opportunities for housing, retail and economic development.