It’s been 15 months since Clear Space Theatre Co. officials announced a proposal for a new home at 413, 415 and 417 Rehoboth Ave. At the time, the theater company didn’t own the land. That’s now changed.
Clear Space Executive Director Wesley Paulson said Jan. 1 the theater company closed on the property Dec. 30.
In a prepared statement, the company said the property will serve as theater and rehearsal space.
Clear Space Board Chair Carl Schloegel said the move comes after three years of study.
“We welcome this opportunity to provide a permanent home for Clear Space and where we can continue to present artistic endeavors of integrity and risk in the City of Rehoboth Beach,” said Schloegel in a prepared statement.
Founded in 2004, Clear Space moved into the old Epworth United Methodist Church property on Baltimore Avenue in 2010. The theater company’s lease expires Dec. 31, 2020.
In anticipation of the lease ending, the theater company first revealed a proposal for a new home at 413, 415 and 417 Rehoboth Ave. during a planning commission meeting in October 2018. The proposed 25,600-square-foot building drew opposition from city residents because of its size, failure to meet parking requirements, and safety problems related to having hundreds of patrons exiting onto a section of Rehoboth Avenue with little lighting.
Both Paulson and Schloegel said the theater company is working on those concerns.
There’s a new design in the works, said Paulson.
“We look forward to building a facility that is designed within city code,” said Schloegel.
In a follow-up email, Paulson said there is no date for groundbreaking. Clear Space is still in the design/development phase, he said, which he expects to take another few months.
Earlier this fall, through a citizen Freedom of Information Act request, it was revealed the theater company and the city were in negotiations for the theater company to use the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center for the 2021 season.
Paulson said discussions continue with the city to use the convention center in 2021.