DOWNTOWN BROOKLYN - A groundbreaking ceremony was held today for the renovation of the 1918 Strand Theater on Fulton Street, which will become the Bric Arts Media Center in less than two years.

Local politicians say the renovations were long overdue, with Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz describing the theater as being "in a significant state of deterioration." The new center will include space for exhibitions, performances and retail. City Council Speaker Christine Quinn says the center will bring more arts and culture to Brooklyn, so locals won't have to travel into Manhattan for live performances or exhibitions.

Also attending the groundbreaking was Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who put in $30 million in capital funds for the project. The new center is scheduled to open in April 2013.