The Wellmont Theater in Montclair, N.J., which is slated to be sold, was rocking Friday night during a concert by the band Aer. Steve Remich for The Wall Street Journal

In 2007, a real estate company that focused primarily on office buildings in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood made a move into the entertainment business by buying a historic New Jersey movie house with plans to convert it into a concert hall.

Now, the Rosen Group is bringing that strategy to a close by selling the 93-year-old Wellmont Theater, where Charlie Chaplin once performed. Rosen has hired NGKF Capital Markets to market the Montclair property with an asking price of $6.7 million.

Rosen made good on its plans to create a club with live rock concerts in Montclair, an increasingly affluent bedroom community that also prides itself on its emerging arts scene. Performers at the venue, which has a capacity of 2,500, have included B.B. King, Wilco, Elvis Costello and at least two groups made up of former members of seminal psychedelic rock band the Grateful Dead.

"It's in tune with the demographic of the town a bit. It's a suburban town. We're trying to bring those acts that people saw at the Fillmore in the '70s or at Roseland in the '80s or '90s, and bring them to a place that's more convenient to the Jersey guys and gals who live there," said Tom Goodkind, Rosen's chief financial officer and a former denizen of the downtown Manhattan rock scene.

What's not clear, though, is how much of a profit Rosen will make from a sale. The private, family-run company paid about $2.5 million for the property.

Since then, though, the company has put at least $5 million into renovations and improvements, including about $1 million in new lighting and audio equipment last year, Mr. Goodkind said.

Also last year, Rosen struck a deal with Live Nation, the Los Angeles-based concert promoter, to book 80 shows a year for three years, according to a spokesperson for the owners. The landlord is currently in talks with Live Nation to extend that contract for another five years and to allow more flexibility in bookings to accommodate community events such as the Montclair Film Festival.

"I can't say that it's an actual cultural mecca, but our feeling was that we've spent seven years building up the room…and we have a regional draw," Mr. Goodkind said. "When things are at their best and running really well, and someone could come in and do really well with it, that's your selling point."

Live Nation representatives didn't return calls or emails seeking comment.

The Wellmont was built in 1921 by the architects Reilly & Hall, making use of both the Georgian Revival school of architecture and the "atmospheric" style that was popular with early movie houses, according to Barton Ross, an architect who specializes in historic preservation and who worked on a recent restoration of the Wellmont's façade. The style featured soaring open spaces, domes, reflective paint and views that were unobstructed by columns or other supports, a feature made possible by the newly available structural steel.

"They wanted to give the illusion that you were watching the entertainment while sitting under the stars," Mr. Ross said.

When the Wellmont opened in the early '20s, there were at least two other theaters on Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair, all competing for audiences at a time when theaters were transitioning from hosting live acts to showing the bigger and more elaborate films coming out of Hollywood.

"There was a theater boom at the time, and the Wellmont scored a lot of the big acts," Mr. Ross said. "It was better equipped when it was built to both accommodate the live acts of the day but also to have big audiences to watch movies."

With a capacity of 2,500, the Wellmont prospered for many years, but by the 1990s, downtown Montclair was struggling to attract and keep businesses, according to Mr. Ross, and the theater was losing ground to more modern, multi-screen movie theaters. The theater stopped showing films in 2006, just before the Rosens bought it.

Initially, the revitalized venue was booked by The Bowery Presents, a New York promoter that arranges rock, pop and hip-hop shows at several prominent clubs in New York.

The number of shows and attendance have gone up in the last year, since Live Nation took over bookings, said Luther Flurry, the executive director of the nonprofit Montclair Center Business Improvement District.

"Live Nation has had less trouble filling the house than Bowery Presents because Live Nation goes with the tried and true, and Bowery Presents takes more artistic risks," he said. "But any time you have a well-managed business that can draw thousands of people for an evening, that's great for downtown, for all the restaurants and other businesses."

Write to Robbie Whelan at