12 thoughts on “‘This Is Disappointing’: Playhouse Renovation Estimate Up to $7.9 Million, Double Original Budget

  1. This is one of the biggest follies ever undertaken. Movie theaters are dead. Remember drive in theaters? Same outcome. The town must cut its losses, get out of the real estate development business, where it never belonged, and sell it to someone who knows what they are doing with the deed reflecting appropriate stipulations for the preservation of the appearance of the street.

  2. This really just flat out incompetence… or worse nefarious. Any competent pre-inspection design would have determined the feasibility of using the existing HVAC. Unless they knew it, trapped the town into starting the project knowing the town would be stuck and telling them after the town was well down that rabbit hole. Sell the building, fire the project manager, planner or however got the town trapped into this mess. the $8M much better return on school system, or youth development…

  3. Bringing the Playhouse back is paramount. And yes, at whatever the cost. This revitalized gem will finally be able to become the heartbeat of town it should be. Combined with the new library, New Canaan will see a much needed burst of life, energy and activity throughout all of downtown. If the town could waste $$ for fantasy architect renderings of baseball field police stations, certainly it can invest more in something that will actually be of great benefit to everyone.

    • To be clear, Rose Rothbart is not a town employee. She volunteers as a member of the Historical Review Committee, and serves as its recording secretary. Typically the elected and appointed town bodies have a chair and secretary (sometimes a vice chair).

      Note: The Rothbarts also are both board members of the “New Canaan Preservation Alliance.” Though small, that group has four active lawsuits against the town and library, according to Connecticut Judicial Branch records.

  4. I strongly support the renovation of our gorgeous New Canaan Playhouse, a gorgeous town landmark. Some movies will come back and the space will be used and will serve as an asset to the Town. The cost overruns are unfortunate. The initial $400,000 sounds unrealistic for HVAC but so does over $2,000,000. I agree costs should be independently audited before final approval is given. We must have optimal air circulation after Covid and so think the space was very musty to say the least. Thankfully we are an affluent town that can afford this but going forward better financial oversight will be needed!

  5. Given this development, it’s worth looking into other corporate structures for the Playhouse. The Sag Harbor Cinema reopened a few years ago as a community owned nonprofit arts center. The organization conducted substantial private fundraising to renovate, and it’s now the nicest public theatre I’ve ever been to. Town leaders could creatively harness the goodwill in this town to raise money for a nice facility, especially if donors get to put their name all over the place. People would be extremely excited to support an ultra-premium facility.

  6. $8M is approximately $1000 per rate payer. This is equivalent to 800,000 $10 movie tickets or 65,000 years of Netflix subscriptions. The cost is wildly disproportionate to the benefit.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *