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Michael Luke /Eyewitness News

NEW ORLEANS The long-closed Joy Theatre one of several rundown theaters that dot the landscape of downtown will be renovated and reopened by early 2012.

Closed since 2003, the theater was sold to NOLA Theatre District LLC, a development group led by businessmen Neal Hixon, Joe Jaeger, Allan McDonnel and Todd Trosclair, according to a statement from the McDonnel Group, the general contractor for the project.

Using tax incentives and tax credits, the plan to rehab the shuttered theater is an aggressive one; it calls for a renovation and an upgrade to the theater and have it open by early 2012. The theater will host live music and comedy shows, show current motion pictures and be available for special events, according to the McDonnel Group.

'The renovation and reopening of the Joy Theatre is a critical component to the revitalization of this area of Canal Street,' said Alan McDonnel in the statement.

'The timing of the project is crucial as well with the development of the Jung Hotel and surrounding sites, University Hospital and VA Hospital projects, the new streetcar extension, several residential and hotel projects currently in development in the nearby vicinity, and of course the reopening of the Saenger Theatre just across Canal Street.'

The project will utilize a variety of tax incentives including State and Federal Historic Tax Credits along with Louisiana Live Performance District Tax Credits, according to the statement from McDonnel.

The announcement that the Joy Theatre will be renovated comes on the heels of Gov. Bobby Jindal signing a pair of bills extending tax credits for the rehabilitation of historic buildings in downtown New Orleans. The bills are being touted by local leaders as being instrumental in also getting the Saenger Theatre rehabilitated.

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