Fine Arts Theater

84 Federal Road,
Brookfield, CT 06804

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Showing 1 - 25 of 46 comments

bicyclereporter on September 14, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Yep. Went by today. All gone.

Jeffrey1955 on July 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Thanks for those! It appears they did take down the theater first. Drove by today…looks like it’s nearly all gone.

historybuff614 on July 22, 2011 at 7:26 am

historybuff614 on July 22, 2011 at 6:35 am

It’s been happening slowly, the entire plaza is almost gone. I just can’t believe that something is actually happening to this place. I remember that plaza being a major shopping center. I think the theater actually came down on 7/13. To be honest, I’m shocked it didn’t happen earlier. I took a few pictures and videos. I’ll have to find someway to upload them (not a facebooker or myspace guy)

Jeffrey1955 on July 21, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Wow…did that happen today? The buildings have been fenced off and were being worked on for months…I suspect they were removing asbestos. That’s it then… within about a month of Marcus Dairy being demolished; two Danbury landmarks bite the dust.

historybuff614 on July 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm


Jeffrey1955 on February 18, 2011 at 9:30 am

Thanks — I thought it looked like the laundromat was closed the other day. Can’t believe they’re seriously proposing a BJ’s for the site while still struggling to find a sufficient source of water…even considering piping it in from Newtown??? Anyway, the only update on the Fine Arts left for this page would be if anyone captured pictures of it being demolished, whenever that happens.

historybuff614 on February 18, 2011 at 6:11 am

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Laundromat is now closed. The entire plaza is now vacant.

historybuff614 on October 8, 2010 at 11:12 am

I spoke to Dorcal Associates today at (203) 674-0777 and I was told that the property is being sold and is currently under contract. Who knows if that is true, but I expect that after Jo-Ann’s moves, you will see the buildings bulldozed and the site re-developed. Apparently water is available from the Raymour and Flanagan Plaza The laundromat will be kicked to the curb and the Fine Arts Theater Demolished.

historybuff614 on September 28, 2010 at 12:01 pm

does any body have any pictures of the interior or exterior from when it was open?

Jeffrey1955 on September 28, 2010 at 11:17 am

I agree about fencing off and demolition probably coming soon. The new Jo-Ann’s in the former Walgreen’s location is scheduled to open in a few weeks, with the current store now engaged in a Store Closing Sale. (It’s odd to me that they’re calling this a “store closing” rather than a “moving sale” but they seem to do everything by set corporate templates.) One interesting note: the Jo-Ann mailer announcing the closing sale still lists the location as Caldor Shopping Center! Not sure if that shows how out-of-touch Jo-Ann’s management is with their individual locations, or if it confirms that the entity with legal title to which they pay rent is still Caldor, i.e., Dorcal.

In terms of the scope of this site, status of the Fine Arts Theatre will undoubtedly change from Closed to Demolished in the near future. It was only open for about 30 years, has sat empty and deteriorating for about 10, and cannot be said to have been terribly architecturally distinguished or memorable, other than to those who spent hours there watching movies and/or experiencing personally meaningful moments within its walls. So for all of them, we say Fine Arts Theater, R.I.P.

historybuff614 on September 28, 2010 at 9:59 am

Jo-Ann Fabric’s is moving very soon. Which now leaves only the laundromat.
The tax office only has Dorcal Associates on file as the property owner, who pays the taxes on time every year. No contact person is listed but I understand the Fire Marshall’s Office, the police dept and the Assessors office has been looking for a contact person for a couple of years now. Seems like they are intentionally keeping this place a big mystery. I expect that one day they will fence off the property and bulldoze the place down.

historybuff614 on July 20, 2010 at 6:33 pm

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Jeff, you might find this picture interesting.

historybuff614 on July 20, 2010 at 9:25 am

I just found that out, thanks for the info. I’m going to stop at the tax office in Brookfield and see what on file for this place. I personally don’t see anything happening with this plaza. Building codes are to strict when it comes to fire suppression. Kohls just dug two more wells and built a new pump house I think because the Fire Marshall & the town made them.

Jeffrey1955 on July 20, 2010 at 9:01 am

You were correct — Dorothy Bennett died May 2, 2008.

Jeffrey1955 on July 20, 2010 at 8:27 am

Yes, Dorcal — opposite of Caldor — was their real estate management arm. From what I recall, they owned quite a bit of property, even beyond many of the original Caldor locations. I had not heard that Dorothy died, however; will also look that up.

I wonder if any of the other Caldor shopping centers contained movie theaters? This one may be unique in that regard.

historybuff614 on July 20, 2010 at 5:28 am

I think Dorothy died a few years ago. I haven’t heard anything about Carl. But your right, they are millionaires. There is a management company out of Stamford called Dorcal Associates that is “taking care of” the plaza. Name sounds too close to Carl and Dorothy, maybe an company created to manage the estate and all the funds? I’m going to see if I can find out if Dorothy died and if Carl is still alive.

Jeffrey1955 on July 19, 2010 at 11:35 pm

So Carl and Dorothy Bennett DO still own that center! That’s what I thought. Kind of explains how they’ve been able to let it sit so long with practically no revenue, since they undoubtedly have millions. But they’ve got to be in their 90s now. Don’t know who’s actually running things.

It’s also odd that there used to be enough water when the center was fully occupied. Undoubtedly the problem is all the other development that’s taken place up and down Federal Road since then.

historybuff614 on July 19, 2010 at 7:08 pm

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Interesting read, this plaza isn’t going anywhere until they figure out the water problem. Danbury can’t supply enough and neither can New Milford or Newtown. One day the buildings will burn down (lightning may strike lol) or eventually crumble into pieces. Either way, the buildings will continue deteriorate.

Ironic that a plaza with water problems has a laundromat in the plaza that most likely uses more water than Kohl’s ever could.

historybuff614 on June 16, 2010 at 6:11 am

If you drive around back, they have been doing some work on the pump house behind Kohls. I imagine there must be a master plan for this plaza, the property is worth millions. I don’t understand why business’s continually have dropped out and never returned. I can remember when the plaza was filled with the exception of one or two vacancies. Access from Federal Road & Candlewood lake road makes it an ideal retail location.

The Laundromat does attract a lot of business and at all hours of the night. I wonder if the owner of the Laundromat is looking for space elsewhere.

I will never understand this stuff, maybe one day when I’m independently wealthy I can sit on a property worth millions let the building fall apart and slowly kick all my tenants out.

Jeffrey1955 on June 15, 2010 at 1:03 pm

Yes, there was a sign in front of Shop Rite Plaza a couple of weeks ago announcing Jo-Ann was coming — I assume in the former Walgreen’s space.

I doubt the laundromat has a long-term lease, or even a lease, but people still have to do their laundry, so it will probably hang on until they start to bulldoze the place — which I also assume is what’s coming. Though I wonder if the Town of Brookfield will insist they shut down and fence off the whole thing rather than have to police it to ensure the safety of the few customers in an otherwise abandoned shopping center, even if there is an active Kohl’s right next door.

historybuff614 on June 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

Jo-Ann Fabric’s is moving north into the Shop Rite Plaza at 143 Federal Road. Only thing left at this point is the laundromat.

I wonder what is going to happen.

Jeffrey1955 on April 23, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I took some photos of the shopping center exteriors back in February, and just got around to posting them. One shows the north end, with the Fine Arts and its neighboring empty stores.
(Sorry, took them with my cell phone… quality isn’t great.)
View link

historybuff614 on April 23, 2010 at 3:50 pm

my email is

historybuff614 on April 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

Went there today first time in the plaza for me in a long time. I can’t believe the condition of the buildings. The old Johns best restaurant is covered in mold, the adjacent stores “Mediterranean Specialties” and “Express Photo of Brookfield” are also in similar condition. I have no idea when the last time Mediterranean Specialties or Express Photo were open. The other notable thing is the parking lot is completely destroyed. Talk about pothole heaven.

There is evidence of people trying to break in on the north side double doors. They managed to make a gap of about 4 inches permantally bending the doors. You can see in but not far. I’m sure Mr. & Mrs. Raccoon have made a nice home inside. Doors still won’t budge. Not sure how long the damage has been there. Whoever sealed that place up did a good job.

I did a quick walk around I was unable to see any doors or windows above.
Are you suggesting I gain access via the roof? I’m not a rock climber….
Perhaps correspondence via email is more appropriate?