New Life for the Esquire Theater?

May 6, 2018

It is an iconic building located on Broadway at the entrance to downtown Cape Girardeau.

Ah yes, the old Esquire Theater. Built in 1947, this building has a colorful Art Deco façade with a projecting marquee. It served as a movie theater for decades and was both a local favorite and a destination for out of town guests. However, in 1985, the Esquire closed its doors and the building has not seen an operating business since.

That could all change soon. A regional development group is interested in redeveloping the building into a 650 seat multi-purpose venue for touring music groups, weddings, community events, and more. Ironically, this could make this building a local favorite and a tourist destination once again.

TAG Development Group is seeking Tax Increment Financing assistance for the project. TIF is an often misunderstood RE-development tool. It protects the existing property tax base and captures the newly created property taxes paid by the developer as a result of the new assessment on the finished building. This new increment in taxes, along with 50% of the newly created sales taxes, can be used by the developer for qualified expenses under an agreement with the City. So, no taxes are abated and no existing taxes are diverted to the project. The only taxes used are those created by developer.

This is a very exciting plan on a building experiencing more than 30 years of vacancy. What a boost this could be for our region.