JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville's oldest theater is about to take on a new look.
The 93-year-old Florida Theatre is about to undergo major renovations inside. It will keep its historic look, but there will be new seats, a new sound system and an expanded lobby.
The $10 million, five-year capital improvement plan was announced Thursday in a news conference with Mayor Lenny Curry, Florida Theatre President Numa Saisselin and Florida Theatre Vice-Chair Leslie Gordon.
"I did not hear any negative feedback," Curry said. "Every member of council understands and I appreciate it how important this asset is historically and what it will mean years ahead."
The theater is owned by the City of Jacksonville which will pay over $5 million in the next five years for the upgrade. The rest of the funding will come from private donations which will match the city funding. The Theatre received gifts and pledges from 72 donors totaling more than $2.1 million.
The money has already been included in the city budget approved by the council.
Renovations are expected to begin next summer and it will take about five years to complete.
“This is one of the last remaining theaters of this kind in our country,” said Florida Theater board member Leslie Gordon said. “We have to preserve it.”