Monomoy Theatre Sold For $3.65 Million

By: Tim Wood

The Monomoy Theatre. FILE PHOTO 

CHATHAM – The sale of the Monomoy Theatre property was finalized Monday, eight months after its longtime owner announced that it was for sale.

Chatham Productions LLC, paid $3,650,000 for the 2.7-acre property at 776 Main St. and 70 Depot Rd., according to documents on file at the Barnstable County Registry of Deeds. Frank, Frederick and Catherine Steindler, trustees of the Steindler Family Trust, had put the venerable theater on the market in January for $3.95 million.

According to the Massachusetts Secretary of State office's corporate database, Chatham Productions LLC is managed by Gregory T. Clark and Patricia M. Gannon, with an address of 109 Oak St. in Newton Upper Falls.

In March Clark announced that his company, Alexandra Properties, had an agreement with the Steindler family to purchase the theater property. The company, he said, had experience renovating historical buildings and planned to work with town officials to restore the theater building and main house on the property with the goal of listing them on the National Register of Historic Places.

The historical commission has taken preliminary steps to determine the eligibility of the buildings for National Register listing.

For the first summer since 1938, the Monomoy Theatre stage was dark this summer. Last fall, the University of Hartford, which sponsored the summer college theater training program, decided not to renew its lease following identification by town inspectors of numerous health and safety violations in dorm rooms and other buildings on the property.

The Steindlers—whose ownership of the property goes back to 1958, when the Monomoy Theatre was purchased by Elizabeth Baker, wife of the president of Ohio University, to establish a summer theater program—initially rejected an offer to buy the property from a group of theater supporters.

The historical commission has asked the Massachusetts Historical Commission to determine if the property is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Of the property's several buildings, the most significant historically are the main house, a double Greek Revival built in 1861, and the theater, the lobby of which was believed to have been an ice house built around 1880.

The state agency has requested additional information. If the property is deemed eligible, it would be up to Clark to submit a formal application. If accepted on the National Register, tax credits would be available for restoration and preservation of the property.

Clark indicated previously that his intention is to renovate the theater into a community performing arts space, and said he is open to the Monomoy Theatre program returning. Alan Rust, the long-time artistic director of the Monomoy Theatre, said in an email that the university may be “willing and able to run a summer program,” but substantial renovation work must take place first. He added that he has not been in contact with Clark.

Because the property is commercially zoned, any changes to the buildings will have to go before the town's historic business district commission. As of Tuesday, the community development department had not yet received any applications from the new owners.

Attempts to contact Clark by The Chronicle's deadline were unsuccessful.