Salem Times Register

A new life for old Salem Theatre building

Photo by Shawn Nowlin
What the old Salem Theatre building looks like today.


In the back of her mind, Melinda Payne always knew it was just a matter of time before the old Salem Theatre building would get sold. Located at 300-304 East Main Street in Downtown Salem since the 1930s, the three-story building has been underused for many years.

“We have shown the building to many potential buyers, and it’s wonderful to finally have a new owner with a vision that will complement our current offerings,” Payne, Salem’s Director of Economic Development, said.  “Roger Neel has a proven track record of taking old structures such as theatres and turning them into something marvelous. We can’t wait to see his handiwork take shape.”

The negotiation process took about 90 days. According to officials, the City of Salem explored ways to convert the building back to a theatre, however, former renovations prevented that from happening. “The bottom floor was filled in with cement and to remove the concrete would have been an engineering nightmare,” Melinda said. “Based on our…

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