Looking for a Theater

posted by stevepatrick on September 22, 2004 at 1:06 pm

I live in New England and I’m looking for an old theater currently doing nothing but sitting in a community that may or may not have expressed an interest in getting it up and running again… or just waiting for the right person to ‘get the wheels in motion’. Any help?

Comments (10)

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 22, 2004 at 2:00 pm

Perhaps Hollywood Theatre, Taunton Avenue, East Providence, RI? Shuttered since the 1960s. It is for sale.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on September 22, 2004 at 2:05 pm

Also the United Theatre in lovely Westerly, RI. Shuttered for about 20 years.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on September 22, 2004 at 2:21 pm

Oh, Steve, if you are serious about renovating an old abandoned one I have a ton in CT, MA, and RI that are just sitting there. Photos of all these theatres can be seen on CinemaTour at http://www.cinematour.com/ . None of these are in working condition, but if you have money they can be restored into operating cinemas again. (I have not included on this list the long-abandoned movie palaces that would takes many millions of dollars to restore.)

Berlin Cine 1 & 2 (Berlin, CT) opened in 1969 and closed in 1997 after damage from a fire. Tried to fix fire damage, but then vandals destroyed the screen and the owner gave up. In a shopping center, but the shopping center owner does not want to help with the cost of renovations, so it still sits vacant. Directly across the street from a modern Shocase Cinemas multiplex, so it would need to be sub-run.

Palace Theatre (Danbury, CT) opened in 1927 and closed in 1995 after being triplexed. I have not been inside, but a friend who has tells me there is water damage. Another friend, though, tells me he has been inside and says this place can be restored and reopened. It is on Main Street directly across the library in downtown Danbury.

Theater East (Manchester, CT) opened in 1966 and closed in 2001. This single screen turned into a Hoyts 6-screener sits abandoned behind a shopping center. Why doesn’t it reopen? Probably because Showcase Cinemas opened a 16-screen behemoth across town in 1998. This would have to be sub-run, or maybe art movies, since Showcase would hog first run product.

Elm Theatre (West Hartford, CT) opened 1947 and closed 2002. Walgreens bought the property and wants to convert it into a pharmacy, but Save The Elm ( http://www.savetheelm.org/ ) is trying to save it and is searching for an angel to swoop in and buy it. This single converted into a twin has a balcony.

Forest Theatre (West Haven, CT) opened 1930 and closed 2004. This single screen closed this past winter. It wasn’t in the greatest shape, but I think with TLC and a little work it could have been successful. Unfortunately, last I heard the owner wanted $10,000/month in rent which means a theatre is not viable there.

Plaza Theatre (Windsor, CT) opened 1943 and closed 1997. I was inside this a couple of years ago and all this needs is some cleaning up and work and it could be reopened. Last I heard, though, the building owner wanted to sell the entire building – which includes like 12 apartments and 6 storefronts as well as a multifamily house – rather than lease the theatre. That was 2 years ago, though, and things may have changed.

Rivoli Theatre (Chicopee, MA) closed in 1999. Someone bought this last year and did some renovations, including ripping out the seats, in order to reopen this as a nightclub, but then I think he ran out of money.

Grand Theatre (Indian Orchard, MA) opened 1911. This theatre in the Indian Orchard section of Springfield, which is now a church, appears to be for sale at http://www.downtownio.com/grandtheatre.htm . I imagine, since it is being used as a church, it is in decent condition inside.

Casino Theatre (Ware, MA) closed 1999. This former single was twinned before it eventually closed. The drop ceiling in the lobby has fallen, but the building appears to be in sturdy shape.

Castle Cinema (Providence, RI) opened 1925 and closed 2004. This three screener closed earlier this year. It had been operating for a number of years as a cinema and cafe, but in the end I guess that was not successful.

United Theatre (Westerly, RI) opened 1926 and closed 1984. It has been closed for 20 years, so I imagine a good deal of work would be needed, but the marquee is still there and I believe the theatre remains untouched inside.

Also, are you aware that all the former Hoyts locations that became Northeast Cinemas are now for sale? Try contacting them.

E-mail me by clicking on my name for contact information and let me know if I can be of any further assistance.

KaeKae on September 22, 2004 at 3:41 pm

Theater in Carpinteria, California.

Divinity on October 18, 2004 at 9:19 am

Hello Steve Patrick,
The Lowes Paradise is a Landmark 4000 seat oppulent movie palace in NYC that is for lease but may be put on the market. It is an atmospheric theater designed to emulate an ornate Italian Garden.
this is one of the most decadent theaters in NYC. Please contact me for more info.

IVYFOUNDATION on December 21, 2004 at 6:43 am


ssteve on April 16, 2007 at 5:30 pm

Steve Patrick Are you still looking for a Theatre? Please contact me @ 4-16-07

ssteve on August 28, 2007 at 2:57 am

Hi Steve,
My husband and I are the owners of the Norwalk Theatre that you were once interested in purchasing. We are looking to sell the theatre and wondered if you are still interested? I am confident in saying that our asking price would be much lower than Towne & Country was asking for it. You can contact us at thanks!

NativeForestHiller on March 22, 2008 at 5:43 pm

Hi Steve Patrick,

I am a preservationist who is seeking parties of interest that may “save the day” for an endangered early 20th century theater by the prolific Thomas Lamb in Queens, NY. It is available for lease and possibly for purchase. Please e-mail at your earliest convenience, and I will share more information. Thanks!

NativeForestHiller on May 14, 2008 at 6:29 am

Updating my 3/22 posting, please read my public appeal for the historic Ridgewood Theatre by Thomas Lamb, where I am seeking an art-related tenant. This was composed voluntarily, as a director on the board of Queens Preservation Council:


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