Long live the Queen

New life has been breathed into downtown Wilmington’s Queen Theater on Market Street.

Vacant for more than 50 years, after two years of planning and construction, the Queen is now open for business as the newest location of World Café Live.

“Music has a distinctive power to transform the landscape of a city, and we hope it will bring a vibrant new energy to Lower Market Street,” said World Café Live President Hal Real.

The inclement weather pushed Friday’s ribbon cutting ceremony indoors, but the rain couldn’t keep dozens of supporters from coming out to light up the Queen, resurrecting the theater to its former glory launching the city towards more economic development, according to Wilmington Mayor Jim Baker. “It’s such a great project and it makes a great statement for our city and the future of our city because there will be a lot of spinoff from this.”

The 50-thousand square foot space includes restaurants, lounges, two live music venues and studio space for public radio station WXPN.

The $25 million construction project on the city’s landmark building began last summer. The Queen has been a part of Wilmington’s landscape since the late 1800’s and comes with a drama-filled story of its own. Originally built as the Clayton House Apartments, a fire destroyed the building in 1910.  It was then reopened and rebuilt in 1917, as the Queen, a vaudeville theater. When vaudeville died in 1930, the Queen became a movie theater, but eventually went dark in 1959.

 

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