Eau Claire Regional Arts Center seeks buyers for State Theatre - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Eau Claire Regional Arts Center seeks buyers for State Theatre

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Eau Claire (WQOW)- The countdown has begun for the last season of performers to take a final bow at the State Theatre. While final acts are getting ready to take the stage before moving to the Confluence Arts Center, the future of the State Theatre and what will take its place is still up in the air.

It had been standing on what is now Eau Claire Street since 1926. The Eau Claire Regional Arts Center said it was designed to handle acts from the big city of Chicago and booked vaudeville shows every Friday and Saturday. Fast forward more than 90 years and the final season is underway.

"We're going to take the last season to really celebrate the state. You know, we don't want to just ignore this, it's served a very good purpose for a very long time so we're going to take this last season here and really take the time to share the stories that have made this building what it is before we head down the street," said ECRAC Executive Director Ben Richgruber.

The building is for sale, and while there's nothing set in stone just yet, the arts center has a couple of interested developers. As far as what could go in its place, staff said it is all up to the future buyer.

"It's solid walls, the roof needs work and the boiler needs work as always, so it really wouldn't make sense to turn it in to another performance space. But this is a very good building, the structure is sound and it could definitely have a second life that compliments the confluence down the street," Richgruber said.

While the doors may be closing, the arts center said because of the size of the venue, the Confluence Arts Center will actually be opening doors for both larger and smaller acts to come to Eau Claire.

The Confluence Arts Center is expected to open fall 2018. Organizers said the shows will go on at the State Theatre until then. The arts center said it will keep ownership of the building until it has a buyer.

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