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Theater changes hands again

(ran S edition of tampa bay AND state)

The Metro State Theater, which closed its doors this weekend, will open later this month under new ownership.

St. Petersburg lawyer George Rahdert, who owns the building that houses the State, finalized a deal that will turn the downtown St. Petersburg venue over to giri inc. That organization consists of longtime bay area promoters Dave Hundley and Tony Refugiato as well as Mick Berends.

"They have been successful on the live music scene in the bay area and west-central Florida longer than anyone," Rahdert said. "I felt that they brought a proven track record to the business, and the variety of music they bring corresponds to what I want to see for the State and downtown St. Pete."

The theater closed in 1993 and reopened in February, but it fell on hard times recently.

"The last mangers (Brad and Bret Kennedy) had a huge previous record of success in Tallahassee," said Rahdert, who handles First Amendment cases for the Times. "They fought the good fight, but this is a tough area to work in. The downtown St. Pete market is tough to figure out."