POTTSVILLE -- The city of Pottsville and the managers of the Pearl Theatre have announced they are hoping to open a theater in downtown Pottsville.
Things were somber at the Pearl Theatre at the Schuylkill Mall on its last day, but there is hope in sight.
"The last week or two, morale has started to dwindle away," theater manager Zachary Gilbert said. "Now, we are starting to get a little more positive, especially if it ends up happening in the near future."
The theater announced it was closing for good last week. However, the mall's management and Pottsville city leaders just announced plans to build a new version of the Pearl Theatre in downtown Pottsville.
"(It's) something that we've been working on for quite a few months now, and it's coming to fruition, I think," Pottsville Mayor James Muldowney said. "There is still a lot of work to be done."
The hope is to build the theater in the space of a parking garage on Mahantongo Street. It was closed because the building was found to be structurally unsafe. The parking garage has been closed for more than a year now. About six months ago, the Yuengling Brewery announced it was going to donate up to $2.8 million dollars to fix it.
Business owners in downtown Pottsville are excited about the possibility of the theater moving downtown.
"The foot traffic that the Pearl Theatre is going to bring to town is definitely going to enhance the business climate in downtown Pottsville," restaurant owner Savas Logothetides said.
Logothetides not only owns two restaurants in downtown Pottsville, but he also serves as the executive director of Pottsville Area Development Corporation. He said the first three floors of the new garage will be for parking, while the theater would be on top.
"There's a lot of work to be done still," Logothetides said. "Securing the funding and ensuring that all the logistics are completed, but we've definitely taken a step in the right direction."
The city plans to start demolishing the old parking garage soon. The mayor said there is no estimated completion date on the proposed project yet.