In late July, Rehoboth Beach’s Clear Space Theatre Company announced it was abandoning its plans for a new home on Rehoboth Avenue. Now, the theater group has the three commercial properties up for sale at a price just under $3 million.
Clear Space had pursued construction plans at 413, 415 and 417 Rehoboth Ave. for years, but after years of legal proceedings with neighbors, and with no clear end in sight, the theater’s board of directors voted July 25 to sell the three properties.
The properties, listed as one, were put on the market a couple of weeks later. Dave McCarthy of Dave McCarthy & Associates is the agent handling the sale. According to information online, the three 50-by-100-foot parcels are for sale for a total of $2.995 million. McCarthy said the lots were purchased for $2.1 million in 2019. The properties were listed Aug. 12 and they’re already under contract.
McCarthy said he received a bunch of interest, with the properties going under contract within a week. Declining to identify the potential purchaser, McCarthy said the sale slated to close by the end of the month or beginning of October.
Clear Space Executive Director Wesely Paulson confirmed Clear Space has accepted an offer on the Rehoboth Avenue lots.
“The offer is in the due diligence phase and is not final,” said Paulson in a text Sept. 1.
The lots are now cleared, but two of the lots had houses on them when Clear Space purchased them. The two-story house at 415 Rehoboth Ave. was demolished in May 2020. A historic beach bungalow at 413 Rehoboth Ave. was moved across town and renovated.
The three lots are in the city’s C-1 commercial district. However, the lots have R-2 general residential lots to the north.
Once the property is sold, it’s still unclear exactly what Clear Space’s next move will be. Throughout the years-long process at the city level, Paulson said the theater’s business model depends on the foot traffic the city provides.
Clear Space continues to evaluate opportunities to build a new facility, said Paulson. Proceeds from a sale of the lots will be held for future use in a capital campaign, he said.
“In the meantime, we will continue to present live theater in our current space,” said Paulson. “The 2023 season will be revealed at our annual gala, and planning has already started for the 2024 season and beyond.”
The theater company has operated in Celebration Mall on Baltimore Avenue since 2010. It had a lease that was set to expire Dec. 31, 2020, but with many questions still surrounding the approval of the proposed Rehoboth Avenue location, theater officials renewed that lease for another five years in November 2020.
Clear Space had reached an agreement with the city to use the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center during the 2021 theater season, but those plans never came to fruition due to the pandemic.