State Theater Renovation Could Happen Soon | News

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The State Theater could soon come back to life as the owner seeks to renovate the old cinema into a concert hall.

“It’s been in the works for a little while,” said Robin Cleary, executive director of the Downtown Kingsport Association.

Mark Hunt, owner of the property, acquired it two years ago and planned to start bringing the historic theater back to life.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed his plans. Now the plans are back on track.

TriCon Builders LLC, of ​​Johnson City, announced on its Facebook page that it had “obtained the contract to completely renovate this historic destination.” The company also said plans call for a venue on the roof of the building.

Hunt first purchased the property around January 2020.

He owns the Body Shop on Wilcox Drive and is from Kingsport. He is also a music lover. In a previous interview with the Kingsport Times News in 2020, Hunt laid out his plans for the theater that he “walked it, chased it and visited all the different places” he could.

“It’s a passion project for him,” Cleary said. “It’s a dream project for him.”

The theater opened in the 1930s and has shown first and second run films for years. It closed in the 1990s and opened much like a cheerleading academy.

It closed once again and over the years passed through the hands of several owners who had plans for renovations but were never able to leave the ground floor.

One of the biggest renovation projects will be replacing the roof. Several other facets of the theater are still in good condition.

“We are very excited to see construction on the building,” Cleary said.

She said it could be a draw that brings people from far and wide to downtown Kingsport.

“It will not only bring local residents to Kingsport, but people from across the region and beyond,” she said.

She said she could also see more businesses drawn to the downtown opening because of the new music hall.

“Other businesses will thrive and come with this,” she said.

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