Strand Theatre At Risk of Demolition

posted by toddfrary on October 14, 2004 at 8:43 am

TAMPA, FL — Tampa’s historic Strand Theatre is at risk of demolition along with the surrounding buildings in its block. The Strand ceased operations as a movie theatre in the late 1940s and was incorporated into the adjacent buildings that served as the Maas Brothers Department Store in downtown Tampa.

Maas Brothers closed in 1991 and the whole complex hasn’t been maintained or used since that time, resulting in a rapid deterioration in the buildings. A real estate group, 610 Franklin Inc, purchased most of the block in 1998 but has done nothing since that time.

Most of the block was condemned in 2000 and the Tampa Fire Department has standing orders for its fire fighters not to enter the building in the event of fire.

The Strand sits adjacent to other equally longtime abandoned and unoccupied structures that have likewise been condemned but not yet demolished. General plans are for a redevelopment of the whole area.

Ironically the Tampa Theatre is in this same area and it continues its operations quite successfully as does Nickalouie’s CDB’s Italian restaurant, which is in the block slated for demolition.

The Strand was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1979 and was constructed primarily of concrete. Most likely the structure itself is quite sound and solid, but likely in need of serious restoration, especially after having been used for retail space for 30+ years.

With the Tampa Theatre operating nearby its unlikely the Strand could feasibly be opened as a movie theatre, especially with that kind of competition. Catch a glimpse while you can as it’s likely to be demolished. There’s an article on it at TBO.com:

The Tampa Tribune — “Days Numbered For Downtown Fixture”

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