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Beaufort County Arts Council to buy Turnage Theater

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WASHINGTON, N.C. -

A downtown Washington entertainment icon gets new life. The renovated Turnage Theater is set to have a new owner. The Beaufort County Arts Council is buying it.

"I think it's a perfect fit." Russell Smith, owner of Russell's Men Shop in downtown Washington passes the Turnage Theater on a daily basis and wants to see it reopened. Wells Fargo owned the theater and accepted the council's 2nd-bid. Wells Fargo was asking $750,000 for the building, but at this time, the Arts Council would not disclose how much they agreed pay for the theater. 

"They’re very innovative and just knowing that they are going to do their day to day activity down here in the heart of downtown is a great traffic builder for us." Smith said.

The arts council is currently located at the train depot next to the civic center and will move into the theater once the deal closes.

"We feel like we'll be able to go into that space and have a permanent gallery, gift shop. Even when there isn’t a performance, the theater will be open." Executive Director Joey Toler said. Toler says he and the council were devastated when the theater closed in 2011 and says he jumped into action when they heard the news.

"When it closed, it was such a disappointment.  Instead of an asset it was just kind of the opposite." Toler added.

The Arts Council says they probably won't fill the building until the end of the year. But once the closing happens in September, they say they will start looking for events to fill the stage. 

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