Downtown renovations set

Old Regent Theatre, former Lagonda Bank Building to be renovated.

Both buildings, the Regent Theatre at 117 S. Limestone St. and the former Lagonda Bank building at 2 E. Main St, have been under the Turner Foundation banner for at least five years.

Progress on the buildings, although slow, is important to the future of Springfield, said members of the Springfield Preservation Alliance.

“The preservation and rehabilitation of our remaining downtown is essential for Springfield’s downtown renaissance,” said Gretchen Krafft, of Krafft and Associates and president of the preservation alliance. “It provides character and a sense of place.”

A new roof was constructed for the Regent Theatre — famous for housing the Gus Sun Booking Agency in the 1920s — to prevent water leaks, said John Landess, president and CEO of the Turner Foundation. Nonprofit group Regent Entertainment, which includes the Turner Foundation, owns the building.

Now, crews are preparing to take down the signage to put into storage this spring.

“It’s to be restored ultimately,” Landess said. “It’s just sitting there deteriorating, it could eventually become a problem.”

The foundation experienced the consequences of a deteriorating building when part of the 2 E. Main St. building fell and hit a CodeBlue employee last summer. The building is owned by the real-estate arm of the Turner Foundation.

“We’ve had crews go up and check everything on the facade,” Landess said.

The Turner Foundation is moving ahead with plans for the building, which was originally renovated by the Springfield architect responsible for the post office — William K. Shilling. The foundation already has local architecture firm McCall-Sharp working on it.

“They’re doing design work on the inside, connecting the different points and reviewing how it all fits together,” Landess said.

So far there are no solid plans for the two buildings, but the Center City Association says the Turner Foundation is doing good work.

“We believe and agree with the Turner Foundation that these are key properties and that there is value in having them and restoring them,” said Maureen Fagans, Center City executive director.

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