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A bit of news picked up from Shaw Main Streets president Alex Padro and confirmed by Chip Ellis: The long-brewing Howard Theater restoration is finally set to kick off on the 100th anniversary of its opening, August 22.
It seems like a quick turnaround. Back in March, Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham was saying that the Theater project “doesn’t appear to be ready to move forward,” and diverting $710,000 from its designated pot of money over to a relocation grant for the United Negro College Fund. Ellis had hoped to have the theater finished by the centennial, but it took longer than expected to convince banks to sign on—and then his fundraising consultant had to sue the non-profit that was overseeing the venue’s redevelopment. But the combination of bank financing, tax credits, and private fundraising seems to have reached critical mass, and now the only thing left to do is for the Council to perform an alley closing, which it’s scheduled to do on July 6th.
So, 2010: A big summer for Shaw.