News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 1, 2013

Curtain goes up on new theater owner

Indiana Theatre to be showcased with new purpose

Howard Greninger
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — The Indiana Theatre in downtown Terre Haute is under new ownership with a new purpose.

“I still believe there is magic in this building and we think we can bring it back,” said new owner Rob Lundstrom, who owns the Copper Bar and Louise’s Italian Fine Dining.

The facility will now be operated as the Indiana Theatre Event Center, hosting weddings and rehearsal dinners/receptions, private parties and dinner events, corporate meetings/conferences/training/private holiday parties, private movie shows and stage shows, concerts and live entertainment, fundraising events and theatrical productions among other events.

It will be operated in partnership with affiliated operations at The Copper Bar and Louise’s.

“This really gives us a dedicated facility” for events and catering, Lundstrom said. “We will consider allowing other caterers in and not be exclusive to ourselves, at least not at this point.”

Lundstrom said there is no intention to place Louise’s in the building as a dining operation. “We have other opportunities we are still looking at for Louise’s.” he said. “We never rule anything out, but that is not our intention at this point.”

The theater lobby will become a 200-person dining room with access to the 1,674-seat auditorium.

“I am going to be very particular about retaining the character of the building,” Lundstrom said. “There might be a few things we will look at within the auditorium, but in no way, shape or form are we going to dismantle the auditorium,” Lundstrom said.

The event center will have some immediate changes, such as the concession stand, which will be upgraded to serve for both concessions and as a service bar, Lundstrom said.

“Nothing that will change the character and the historical significance and architecture, but modern amenities that will give it more capabilities,” he said.

The theater is listed on the National Register of Historical Places.

The building has already hosted two events since Lundstrom obtained the keys on Friday.

“I feel that there is a lot of pent up community interest in having a vibrant activity and event center downtown,” Lundstrom said. “That is not to knock anything that is available. The Ohio Building is a great facility and there is Indiana State [University] and other people. We just think this is a unique facility given the fact you can combine a dining hall and lobby area with an auditorium.”

Commercial spaces fronting Seventh Street in the building can be developed in the future, Lundstrom said. However, there are no current plans to renovate those areas.

“We do think there is a lot of potential,” he said, “and depending on how fast and how successful we can grow it, it is not out of the realm of possibilities to expand over and connect that space with us to have whole use of the facility,” Lundstrom said.

Lundstrom formed Indiana Theatre LLC on March 23, according to the Indiana Secretary of State’s office. Indiana Theatre LLC purchased the building from KAE Corp. owners Roger and Kathy Aleshire for $200,000 on April 26, county records show.

KAE Corp. purchased the building in October 2003, for $179,000 from Webtag Corp., which included local owners Earl and Tina Elliott, Debbie and Robert Gurman, and Mark and Gayla Thiemann. Other previous owners include William Decker, a former county treasurer and county commissioner, who bought the theater in 1990 from United Artists.

The original Terre Haute owner was T. W. Barhydt. Indianapolis builder John Shumacker Co. completed the building at a cost of $750,000. It opened Jan. 28, 1922. It was designed by famed theater architect John Eberson in Spanish Andalusian style. The theater was originally affiliated with Paramount Studios. The two-story building has 31,646 square feet.

Indiana Theatre Event Center can be reached for facility rental and catering at 812-870-4612 or Info@IndianaTheatre.com.



Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.