Haven sees new glory in facelift

Published 5:00 am Monday, July 19, 2004

Improvements to Brookhaven Little Theatre’s home are continuingwith the start of a multi-phased project to bring some new glory tothe historic Haven.

The first phase of the project, which has been under way for afew weeks, includes work on the West Cherokee Street building’sfacade and Haven theater marquee.

Asem Zeini, the BLT board member heading up the project, saidstucco from the front of the building has been removed in order toaddress some brick problems and water leakage concerns. Moving aninterior drain to the outside of the building and some roof repairsare another part of the effort.

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New stucco will be put back on the building’s facade.

“The front is going back pretty much like it was before,” Zeinisaid.

The stucco’s removal unveiled the words, “The Famous, Inc.,”painted on the old movie theater building’s bricks.

Several passersby have questioned the origin of the sign. NitaRitchie, a long-time BLT participant and current board member, saidThe Famous was a mercantile store.

“It sold everything, dry goods mostly,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie recalled going to the store while growing up inBrookhaven during the 1940s.

“I don’t remember seeing it much after that,” Ritchie said.

Ritchie was glad to see improvements moving forward. Severalyears ago, the community theater group reworked the lobby area andpurchased new seats for the auditorium.

“It’s slow but sure. We’re doing the best we can,” Ritchie saidabout renovation activities.

As part of the current facade work, Zeini said two posts will beerected to support the large awning. Recessed lighting also will beinstalled to lighten up the area.

Zeini said James Minter, vice-president of the board, hasproposed an iron work “Haven” sign to be placed between the posts.The sign would be similar to the “Homeseeker’s Paradise” sign atthe intersection of South Whitworth Avenue.

A Brookhaven Little Theatre sign is scheduled to be put on thelower awning near the ticket booth. Future plans include restoringand renovating the booth.

In other signage activity, Zeini said the Haven marquee will beput back up once work is completed. The marquee will be getting anew paint job before being reinstalled.

“We’re working on the colors. That’s a very important issue,”said Zeini about the exterior work.

Zeini added that he planned to discuss the subject at anupcoming board meeting.

An additional phase of the BLT project includes reworking theentrance to incorporate the former Merle Norman cosmetics shop aspart of the theater lobby. Also, part of the former Posey Place isslated to be renovated for storage, with the remainder put back inuse as a rental property.

Ritchie and Zeini said prior financial support by BLT patronsand other supporters has allowed the organization to pursue therenovations. Zeini said future phases may require the use offund-raisers, which has not been determined.

“We have to do the best we can with what we can afford to do,”Ritchie said.