Mercantile Center Theater For Lease As Possible Cinema, Music Venue

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By Neal McNamara

Photo: Neal McNamara

WORCESTER, MA — A long-shuttered 349-seat theater in downtown Worcester could soon come back to life as a movie theater or live music venue.

The commercial real estate firm Kelleher and Sadowsky this week listed the former Foothills Theatre in the Mercantile Center for lease. The 26,000 square-foot, 349-seat theater closed in 2009 when Foothills stopped staging performances due to funding issues.

“It is ideal for a number of uses including theater, cinema, comedy, and live music,” the listing says.

If used as a cinema, it would be the first to operate in Worcester since the Showcase Cinema along Brooks Street closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Worcester was the largest city in the U.S. without an active movie theater as of 2022, as first reported by Worcester Patch.

The theater is located in an area that has grown over the past few years into a dining and entertainment destination. The theater is located behind the Ruth’s Chris Steak House along Mercantile Street, and in between The Mercantile restaurant and Harpoon Brewery’s beer garden, which operates outdoors in warmer months.

The theater was last used before portions of the former Worcester Center Galleria were torn down to make way for the CitySquare project, which is still unfolding. A residential building is supposed be built where a grassy park along Mercantile Street stands, but the developer behind the project has put the property up for sale.

Kelleher and Sadowsky listed the theater leasing rate as “negotiable.” Apart from the theater, the entertainment space features a lobby, green room and rehearsal area, according to the listing.