Historic Flower Theater Will Bloom Again in Long Branch
MHP to Restore Iconic Neighborhood Gem in Montgomery County, MD
Silver Spring, MD, October 24, 2023 – MHP, a nonprofit affordable housing developer and community development organization based in Montgomery County, will undertake a reconstruction of the historic façade of the former Flower Theater in the Long Branch neighborhood of Silver Spring, returning it to its original condition when the theater opened in 1950.
The scope of work includes replacing the iconic Flower neon sign that adorns the top of the theater, relighting the marquee, restoring the ticket booth, and other associated repairs. The project, which has been more than three years in the making, recently began construction and is expected to take approximately 9 weeks to complete.
The Flower Theater operated as a movie theater until it closed in 1996. Since that time, it has either been vacant or occupied by a house of worship. Presently, the theater is occupied by Iglesia Jesus es Vida church, headed by Pastor Hamilton da Silva. The theater’s signature neon sign and marquee have been dark for many years, creating public safety issues and underutilized space on the block.
Since the theater’s closing, the Long Branch community has sought to identify an expanded use for the space that will draw people to the neighborhood and serve as a community gathering spot. MHP hopes that the rehab of the facade will spur further investment in the theater and make it more feasible for future commercial tenants to operate in the space.
The project was activated in 2021 when it was awarded a Maryland Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) grant of $75,000. The roughly $400,000 project is being made possible thanks to the financial support of DHCD, Montgomery County Department of Housing & Community Affairs, Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, Cafritz Foundation, and MHP.
“In its current state, the Flower Theater has been a drag in the commercial strip, but the building has the potential to strengthen not only the immediately adjacent businesses but the entire Long Branch business district,” said Chris Gillis, Director of Policy & Neighborhood Development for MHP. “We are excited to breathe new life into the theater and create the conditions that will allow it to become an anchor of the community once again.”
“Donohoe is excited for the opportunity to revitalize a historic part of Silver Spring’s Long Branch community,” said Hunter Gardner, assistant project manager of Donohoe Construction.
Donohoe is serving as general contractor for the project. Amee Bearne, AICP, a former employee of MHP and resident of Long Branch, is serving as project manager. Once construction is complete, MHP looks forward to hosting the community to permanently relight the neon sign and marquee.
Additional construction updates will be shared via MHP and Discover Long Branch’s social media channels as construction progresses.
At MHP, we are dedicated to making home possible. Since 1989, MHP has been preserving and expanding access to quality affordable housing. MHP is a private nonprofit that provides more than 2,800 homes in Montgomery County, MD, and surrounding communities. We accomplish our mission by housing people, empowering families, and strengthening neighborhoods. Learn more at mhpartners.org
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