Last month, Clear Space Theatre Company announced it had submitted building plans for a new home on its three Rehoboth Avenue lots. Next month, the planning commission will get a chance to publicly review those plans.
According to two public notices issued June 22 by the city, the Rehoboth Beach Planning Commission has scheduled site-plan reviews for Clear Space Theatre at 415 Rehoboth Ave. and Rehoboth Spotlight at lot 417. The reviews have been requested by Clear Space Executive Director Wesley Paulson and are scheduled to take place at noon, Friday, July 10.
According to a press release from the theater announcing the new development plans, there are two structures proposed – a 256-seat traditional theater at 415 and a rehearsal theater, known as The Spotlight Theatre, at 417.
Founded in 2004, Clear Space has been in the old Epworth United Methodist Church property on Baltimore Avenue since 2010, but its lease expires Dec. 31. This is the second set of theater plans the planning commission will review in anticipation of the lease ending. Clear Space first revealed a proposal for a one-building theater covering 413, 415 and 417 Rehoboth Ave. in October 2018. The building drew opposition because of its size, failure to meet parking requirements and other safety problems.
Clear Space officially purchased the three lots in late 2019. Then in late January, the theater company announced it will be using the Rehoboth Beach Convention Center during the 2021 season.
The theater demolished two of three structures on its three lots May 11 – a two-story house at 415 and a small garage behind a one-story cottage at 413. Still standing on the 413 lot is a one-story cottage designated as a rare surviving example of a beach bungalow as part of an environmental assessment required by U.S. Department of Agriculture officials for a community facilities loan Clear Space has applied for to help fund the project.
The theater’s press release said construction on the site is not expected to begin until fall 2020. The estimated completion date for the theater is in 2022, and the Spotlight Theatre will be ready in 2023. Clear Space is forming a capital campaign committee to raise needed funds for construction of the two buildings.