Contrary to previous reports, St. Pete’s State Theatre will not rise again.
Instead, the historic 1924 building on Central – refurbished, renovated, retro-fitted and re-dedicated – will be known as the Floridian Social Club. The Floridian, for short.
That’s the news Monday morning from Kevin Chadwick, the real estate broker who bought the State in 2018, shortly after the previous owner shut it down because of financial hardships.
When will the Floridian open? “The time isn’t as important as the result,” says Chadwick, who adds that interior renovations continue during the current crisis. “We’re still working, thank God, and when the rest of the world comes out of this, then we should be done.”
The 8,600-square-foot former bank, movie theater and – in its later years – concert hall will feature a “really cool, oval, Great Gatsby, turn-of-the-century lounge,” with smaller, intimate sitting rooms that can be reserved for groups. “You don’t get the feeling of this massive theater yet,” Chadwick says.
“As you walk through the lounge, the other half of it is in the theater. And walk into this cavernous theater with this huge stage state of the art sound and lights. It’s up now; I look at it and I think ‘Wow. There’s nothing like this.’”
Chadwick plans the 800-seat centerpiece auditorium as a mixed-use facility, with concerts, performing arts events and even meetings and large gatherings. The website was launched Monday morning.
“Our entire city is going through a renaissance,” Chadwick says. “It almost feels like it’s coming out of medieval times and really blossoming into something more modern, more fun. And this building is soon going to be 100 years old.
“I’m really excited about what we’re doing. We’re re-inventing the State Theatre as not just a theater or a concert hall. It’ll be an entertainment venue that is so broad, it’s only limited by everyone’s creativity.”
As for the genesis of the new name, Chadwick says he had an epiphany a few months back. “I’m a third-generation Chadwick here in St. Petersburg; my kids are fourth-generation,” he explains. “I always feel like we’re all connected to the theater as Floridians. We’re all Floridians, right?
“This theater is going to be here 100 years from now. I’m making sure of that. It’s fun when you can work on something that is a legacy worth leaving. It’s a little piece of our history that is going to be a big piece of all our future. I really think of it that way.”