Florida Repertory buys Arcade Theatre, ‘Bradford block’

Entertaining crowds for years to come – the Florida Repertory Theatre bought the Bradford block in downtown Fort Myers, which means the historic Arcade Theatre is not going anywhere.

It is the beginning of a new era for the Bradford block in downtown Fort Myers. Thanks to the help of anonymous donors, the Florida Repertory Theatre bought the entire block, which includes the historic Arcade Theatre, 20 commercial units, 47 residential units and the parking lot across the street.

“Owning your own space gives you security,” said Greg Longenhagen, who works with the Florida Repertory Theatre. “Gives you security today and into the future. We can do things in here that we would not normally be able to do.”

These privileges include applying for grant money. It is something it could not do without owning the property.

Debbie Stone loves living nearby.

“We took our then five-year-old to a play,” Stone said. “He’d never been to a play and he thought it was the coolest thing ever.”

She is happy with the acquisition and the security that comes with it.

The season ended in May. It had record-breaking attendance. The upcoming theatrical season is set to open at the Arcade Theater Oct. 29.

Meanwhile, the theater said it does not plan on changing much. It plans to leave things as they are in terms of buildings.

Instead, it will focus on the reason behind the purchase: preserving the artistic culture.

“We’re focusing mainly right now on the Arcade and the Art Stage Studio space and getting ready revved up for next season,” Longenhagen said. “It will help secure the culture in Fort Myers today and for years and years to come.”

Reporter:Morgan Rynor
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