U.S. Congressman Charlie Crist got the early-bird tour of the Floridian Social Club Tuesday morning, and like everybody who’s been watching the lengthy overhaul and re-branding of the old State Theatre, he had one main question: When is it going to open?
Real estate broker Kevin Chadwick, who bought the building in 2018 and has been overseeing the renovation – it’s really a full makeover – had a ready answer for the St. Pete legislator. “To do something really substantial, it takes time,” he told Crist. “And whatever that time is, is how long it takes. And I’ve found that every time you push something it turns out wrong.
“So the whole concept here is ‘do it, do it once, do it right.’ And it’ll stand the test of time for the next hundred years.”
The vintage 1924 building, 8,600 square feet including a balcony, has been gutted, scraped and cleaned, re-wired and re-fitted for its eventual debut as a concert hall and meeting place. It’s being fitted in dark woods, checkerboard tiles (including some from the original bank floor) and period-appropriate lights and sconces.
Operating Partner Brandon Huskins said Tuesday that while he, Chadwick and their staff are anxious to get open and begin to serve the community, with Covid being the headlining act these days, there’s no hurry to get the Floridian finished up and open for business.
“We are getting closer,” Huskins explained. “It’s tough to say right now, with everything that’s going on, but I think by the end of the year we can certainly be open.
“Construction should be done in the next 35, 40 days, so it’s just a matter of what artists we can have, and what types of activation we can do safely for everybody.”