The sight of scaffolding and construction crews has never been so welcomed at the Miracle Theatre. A significant restoration of the City-owned historic landmark has just begun and when completed, will create new energy on the Mile. “The Miracle Theatre marquee is a unique architectural feature that has long been an icon for Coral Gables’ cultural and performing arts scene, so it is important to preserve this rare gem,” said Mayor Jim Cason.
Among the work currently being done on the building is the theatre’s iconic marquee which will be restored to its original look. The general contractor on the project, Lee Construction Group, is working with Acolite Claude United Sign Company, the marquees’ original manufacturer. The horizontal marquee will be completely removed and restored. It will also get all new white, curved acrylic panels. All of the stainless steel elements of the theatre’s vertical marquee will also be restored. The original marquee included a finial element which was destroyed in a hurricane. Acolite will replicate the decorative element, based on the original 1947 drawings. Theatregoers will be delighted to see the original lighting sequence restored. “Miracle” was designed to light up one letter at a time, an element that was lost many years ago. “The marquee has been in desperate need of a total restoration for more than a decade. Its lights will soon shine brightly over Miracle Mile once again,” said City Manager Pat Salerno.
The cost of construction is approximately $240,000. Miracle Theatre, designed by architect William H. Lee as a movie house, was built in 1947. In 1995, through a public/private partnership, Miracle Theatre became the new home of Actors’ Playhouse and was transformed into a three-stage performing arts center. The theatre company will be restoring the theatre’s ticket kiosk and poster cases in the outdoor lobby area. It received a $30,000 grant from American Express for this restoration; however, it was not sufficient to cover the entire cost of the project. Recognizing the property’s significance and in keeping with its commitment to historic preservation, the City will provide additional funding, up to $20,000, to complete the restoration. All work on the theatre should be completed by summer.