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Developers Plan New Life for Theater in Downtown Scranton

An old theater in downtown Scranton, which was built in the late 1800s, may soon be coming back to life.
An old theater in downtown Scranton, which was built in the late 1800s, may soon be coming back to life.

From the outside, the building in the 300-block of Adams Avenue doesn't look like much. A new developer recently bought the property, most recently known as the Moonshine Theater, and plans to bring it back to life.

"Oh that will be great because I usually walk there and look in there and it looks abandoned and if they can make something out of it, it'll be great," Lizette Cintron said. Cintron is currently in the process of moving back to Scranton.

Eyewitness News got a look inside the building Thursday. The property was just purchased by developer Charles Jefferson and other investors.

Standing inside the second floor theater vestibule, Jessica Kalinoski who is director of operations for Admiral Management Services showed us around what she calls a "hidden gem."

From the main theater, to the original seats on a third floor balcony and even a mahogany bar there are big plans for the space.

Concerts may be just the beginning.

"We're going to work with some promoters from across the country to get some acts in here," Jessica Kalinoski said. "We can do plays, proms, weddings, events, we can do anything here. It holds over 1,000 people."

On the first floor, developers are planning retail space for possible restaurants and food shops.

Christian Pilosi owns the eden-a-vegan cafe right across the street.

He didn't know the sale had been finalized but says it is great news.

"It's been a missing link on this block," Pilosi said. "We'd love to have things going on there for us and the BOG and everyone else here on the block."

In a block where some businesses have felt forgotten over the years, news of the theater renovations are very welcome.

"We'd love to do dinner-and-a-show and that kind of stuff and just be part of it," Pilosi said. "We've been waiting for that. It's a beautiful building."

Developers recently bought the property on Adams Avenue for roughly $500,000 from a New York City businessman. They plan to invest between $1-$2 million into the property.

The developers are hoping to have all the work finished by the fall.

Charles Jefferson is a well-known developer in the Scranton area. He most recently purchased the Montage Mountain Ski Resort with a different set of developers and did millions of dollars in renovations. He has also been involved in other renovation projects in downtown Scranton including the Connell Building and the former Scranton Chamber of Commerce Building.
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