PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – After years of sitting idle and falling into disrepair, the Bomes Theatre on the south side of Providence is about to get new life, thanks to a local developer.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza says, “It's the community who has been steadfast over the years, never giving up on this building and always pushing us to think 'what is possible on Broad Street, and what is possible in this building.'”
Built in 1921, the theatre eventually shut down. A furniture store opened up in its place. Then the building sat vacant for more than a decade, under threat of being demolished.
Elorza says, “This is an impressive success story, and one that seemed unlikely just a few years ago.”
The city has been working to save the building since 2004.
Providence Ward 10 City Councilman Luis Aponte says, “…to see that this building was worth saving, that this building could be special, on a street that's truly special.”
The developer plans to invest $2.2 million in the renovation project.
Aponte says, “[It’s] something that will add jobs, that will add activity and vibrancy.”
Once finished, the building will feature shops, offices, and a reception space to rent for special events.
Aponte says, “For a long time, people were running away from this side of town, and now they're coming back.”
That's something business owners in the area are looking forward to seeing.
Dilsia Vargas, whose sister owns the hair salon across the street from the theatre, says through a translator, “It's going to be something very beneficial for Providence, and something that is going to highlight our community.”
The building should be finished up by the end of this year.