Newton Company Behind Monomoy Theatre Purchase

By: Tim Wood

Topics: Development , Local Theater

The Monomoy Theatre. FILE PHOTO 

Summer Season May Be Possible, Says Principal 

CHATHAM – The mystery of who is buying the Monomoy Theatre was solved Monday when a Morris Island Road homeowner announced that his company plans to purchase the Main Street property.

Gregory T. Clark of Alexandra Properties in Newton Upper Falls, announced during the public forum segment of the board of selectmen's meeting that his company has an agreement with the Steindler Family Trust to purchase the 2.7 acre properties at 776 Main St. and 70 Depot Rd.

Clark, a Weston resident, said the firm has “vast experience” in working with historic buildings, renovating more than a dozen and placing them on the National Register of Historic Places.

“Our intention with this property is to do the same,” he said. He said he plans to reach out to the historical commission to discuss plans for the several historic structures on the property. (The commission does not have jurisdiction over the property; because it is zoned for business, it falls under the purview of the historic business district commission.)

Little more was known about Clark's plans as of Tuesday. Calls and emails to him were not answered by The Chronicle's deadline.

The pending sale of the property has raised doubts about the future of the Monomoy Theatre, a 10-week program during which college students who live and work on the property mount eight productions. A theater since 1938, the Monomoy was first run as a student training program by Ohio University beginning in 1958, and for the past several years was run by the University of Hartford. The university's lease on the property expires March 31; officials decided not to renew the lease due to several factors, including health and safety violations in the dorm rooms. The Steindler family, which has owned the property since 1958, decided to sell after the university opted not to renew the lease; the property went on the market in January for $3,950,000. The property was put under agreement shortly thereafter, with an April 30 closing date.

Clark raised the possibility that the curtain could go up at the theater this summer, saying he had heard concerns about the theater not being able to operate in the upcoming summer season.

“We are going to reach out to that group later on this week and start discussions with them about the possibility of doing that,” he said.

Time is getting short to organize a summer season, said Monomoy Theatre Artistic Director Alan Rust. Items were already being taken out of the theater this week, and removal of lighting and other equipment owned by the University of Hartford is scheduled for two weeks from now.

Rust said Tuesday he had not yet spoken with Clark. Mary Ann Harwood and Gay Murdoch, members of a nonprofit group formed to try to buy the theater, said they had not spoken with Clark either.

Chairman of Selectmen Dean Nicastro said Clark called him last Thursday and there was a brief conversation about the developer's interest in historic preservation and his openness to facilitating the theater opening this summer.

“I don't know what his design is for the premises as a whole,” Nicastro said. “But I'm somewhat optimistic that there may be an opportunity there for the theater to continue operating on that site in some fashion.” He expressed hope that Clark is able to communicate with Rust and theater supporters.

“I hope they're able to work something out,” he said.

According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State's Corporate Database, Alexandra Properties LLC was organized in 2015 and has offices in Newton Upper Falls. Alexandra, Keith and Patrick Clark, along with Patricia Gannon, are listed as managers of the company. It is located at the same address as Alexandra Construction, which lists Gregory Clark as its president.

Teresa Clark purchased property at 69 Morris Island Rd. in 2002, and Greg Clark's name was added to the title in 2006. The 5,000-square-foot home is assessed by the town for $3,417,600.

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