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Donation of Agora doesn't mean the music dies

7:00 PM, Jan 6, 2012   |    comments
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The Agora Theatre on Euclic Avenue is set to be restored.

When it was announced this week that the Agora Theatre was being donated by the LoConti family as part of a neighborhood revival, some fans were worried the legendary venue would no longer ooze live music. Henry LoConti says that's not the case.

"It's definitely going to stay as a music venue," LoConti said. "We are going to add other things besides music, like corporate parties and things like that."

The LoConti family, who has maintained the building for the last 25 years, is donating the facility to MidTown Cleveland Inc. in an effort to revitalize that area on Euclid Avenue.

"The place needed a very large investment and the only way I could see to get it done was to donate the building to MidTown Cleveland," LoConti said.

See pictures from the Agora taken on January 6, 2012

He said his hope is to bring the Agora Theatre back to the way it was in 1913 because its current condition makes it difficult to compete with other locations in town.

"I think once we renovate this place, I think once we get it back to what it looked like before, I think it will be a lot easier to promote the fact that the acts should be performing here rather than someplace else."

Renovations have already started at the Agora Theatre, which are expected to take place in different phases.

"We're reopening the original front of the theater to Euclid Avenue and we're putting the box office out on the front where it was before," LoConti said. "We are redoing the floor in the main theater, eventually we will be doing the stage."

Those a just a few of the many changes heading to the Agora. The dressing rooms will be getting remodeled and air conditioning will be added to the main theater.

Despite his family's donation, LoConti said he will be sticking around to run the Agora Ballroom and the main theater. The office space attached to the Agora will be renovated and transformed into an IT business that supports collaboration as well as access to technology and creativity.

Originally dubbed the Metropolitan Theatre, the building first opened in 1913 before closing in 1975. Ten years later, the LoConti family reopened the Agora at 5000 Euclid Avenue after a fire consumed its previous location.

WKYC-TV

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