East Hartford Begins Plans to Develop Old Showcase Cinemas

East Hartford will demolish the old building and then start looking for proposals from private developers.

After years of the building sitting vacant, change is coming to the old Showcase Cinemas in East Hartford.

Beginning next week, construction crews contracted by the town will begin work to tear down the theatre, which has been abandoned for 13 years.

“It’s time that this neighborhood turn over and become something else,” said East Hartford Development Director Eileen Buckheit.

Since 2006, where there were once new releases, weeds and grass have grown through the parking lot asphalt. The plan now is to tear down the 25-acre site then open it up to proposals from private developers for housing, retail and recreation. Buckheit said this is a needed shot in the arm for Silver Lane.

“A vibrant, walkable neighborhood with new residents, new apartments, retail and a new sense of place for the neighborhood,” she described.

With employers like Pratt and Whitney and United Technologies and Coca Cola nearby, she believes new development could attract more of Connecticut’s workforce.

“The state is making a big push to keep people in state and to be interested in manufacturing jobs. We think this is the new way that young people want to live,” Buckheit said.

The demolition will cost about $800,000.

Construction crews are set to put up fencing next week, then begins asbestos abatement inside the building before demolition can actually start.

Town officials said the entire building should be down in two to three months, and they hope to have a private owner of the site in 2020.

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