Constructed in 1919 as one of the premiere theaters in the country, this iconic Neo-classical building was designed by celebrated architect Henry Newhouse of Chicago. Originally called The Blackstone Theater, it boasted one of the largest and most complete film booths of its time, seating for 2,500 people (since removed), an orchestra pit (since filled in with concrete), and a nursery for children. The building was renamed the State Theater in 1931 and remained in operation as a theater until 1978. While much has changed from renovations, rehabs, and remodels, one thing that has never changed is the potential that this building holds. The 200-foot tall red velvet curtains still border the stage and big screen, the balconies are intact, the walls stand strong, and marble columns mark the procession through the lobby.
“Pitch Your Plan” consists of two rounds starting with an idea for the adaptive reuse of the State Theater. Ideas may be submitted by anyone, but must be submitted by April 30, 2012 via a concise 300 word written pitch. A jury will review the submissions and select the top pitches to move on to round two. These finalists will receive access to a business mentor, the use of software designed to help entrepreneurs flesh out and organize their ideas for presentation, and access to the State Theater one final time. Finalists will present a live pitch to a panel of local experts, including the theater’s owner, Assaf Zvi Dagan, President and Founder of Banko Capital, L.L.C.
The winner of “Pitch Your Plan” will receive a $1,000 grand prize, the privilege of seeing their name on the marquee for one month, and the possibility of seeing their idea come to life.
Interest in the contest, announced locally on April 1, has been robust. DTSB is casting a wider net with the national campaign. Anyone with an idea is encouraged to apply. Contestants who would like more information are encouraged to call DTSB, Inc. at 574.282.1110 or 574.288.8308.
For more information on the State Theater along with complete contest rules and submission forms, visit www.dtsbPitch.com.
“Mr. Dagan has been working with DTSB to engage the community to bring back to life this important piece of downtown South Bend’s history,” said Tamara Nicholl-Smith, Director of Business Recruitment for DTSB. “He has ideas of his own, but wanted to give others an outlet for their thoughts and ideas. It was a natural fit to make the process engaging and beneficial to everyone involved.”
“This contest is happening inside the context of a nationwide movement to revitalize the urban core and restore historic theaters. We look forward to seeing what innovative ideas come forth,” added DTSB’s Executive Director Aaron Perri.
Incorporated in January 2002, Downtown South Bend, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501C(6) organization dedicated to the continued growth and prosperity of Downtown South Bend in partnership with the City of South Bend. DTSB continually works to improve our community’s quality of life through creative marketing and promotion, coordinated public/private initiatives, effective economic development and business recruitment.