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Village Theater Company close to establishing a two-screen theater in Sewickley

The Village Theater Company, a non-profit group, has been working for 8 months to bring a two-screen theater to Sewickley, and it appears that they have already found their space.

The former Ascot Motors site, which is located in the heart of Sewickley, has been unused for several years.  Forbes Trail Development company has recently purchased the site, and is considering a mixed-use project that could include the Village Theater' Company’s (VTC) vision for a two-screen movie theater, as well as a Class-A office building, and a residential component.

Kirsten Stripay, president of the VTC, says this amenity will benefit Sewickley residents, and members of surrounding communities.   The borough has been without a theater for the past 30 years, following the closure of its original movie-house.

In a statement, Forbes Trail president Peter Friday said this opportunity will transform an abandoned eyesore into a mixed-use project that will "enhance our community’s quality of life.”  Friday serves on the Campaign Committee of the VTC.

The theater will be a two-screen, first-run independent movie theater.  According to Stripay, Pittsburgh Filmmakers is interested in running and programming the theater.

VTC and Forbes trail have begun collaborating with Sewickley Borough on a public-private partnership to address infrastructure improvements, as well as planning and financing for the project. Preliminary plans already call for site preparation for the development to begin in the second quarter of 2012.

VTC has begun fundraising, with a goal of $3 million.

Stripay says a cultural hub like the theater will encourage residents to support Downtown Sewickley, and will give a boost to retail and restaurants in the area.

This comes on the heels of a recent renaissance in Sewickley, whose downtown has seen 11 new businesses open in the past year, and 7 more soon to follow.

“I don’t know that this movie thereat would have happened without the effort put into [Sewickley] in the last two years,” Stripay says.  “This is the right time, and Sewickley is on a great roll now.”

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Kirsten Stripay
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