Concerns over condition of old State Theater

Published: Apr. 1, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - The owners of the State Theater in South Bend were today fined $10,000 for failing to maintain the property.

It’s hard to say what type of impression the fine had on the owners—since they did not show up for today’s hearing.

Bricks on the south side of the building are washing away. A pipe that once drained water off the roof broke loose and is leaning against the building next door. It has been that way since 2019.

The theater building opened in 1921 and celebrated its 100th anniversary in January of this year.

It has hosted some marquee community moments and not all of them were in the distant past.

“I remember about nine years ago when the theater first kind of reopened for its latest iteration, Pete Buttigeig stood on the stage, it was an event that had a lot of people, a lot of lights, and he said this is what South Bend’s comeback looks like,” said Scott Palmer during the public comment portion of today’s hearing. “And here we are almost ten years later, I’d really hate to think after all we’ve been through over the past ten years and all, South Bend has accomplished in progress forward that this theater might then become a symbol of something other than progress.”

For some at the hearing, the fine amounted to too little, too late. “This is, to me, as much an indictment of the city as it is of the owners of the building. We’ve gone through several administrations over the course of the last 30, 40 years and this is just the can that’s been kicked down the road,” Jeffery Antkowiak told reporters after today’s hearing.

Last month, the owners of one of only two remaining tenant businesses s in the building decided to move out after water from the roof flooded the space occupied by the South Bend Brew Werks. Steve Lowe is not confident the situation will get any better any time soon, given his interaction with the new ownership. “They tried to tell us in May of last year we couldn’t put a sidewalk cafe out in front of the building because they were going to start renovations. If you can imagine that, telling a restaurant in the middle of a pandemic last summer, you can’t have outdoor seating and you know, dining. That’s the type of back and forth that there’s been.”

The State has just one remaining tenant—the Idle Hours Used Book Store.

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