Restore the theater, restore the community

posted by worshipgeek on December 28, 2006 at 2:44 am

PHILIPPI, WV — This sleepy little community has a gem nestled right in the center of town. The years of misuse and neglect are taking their toll, and the great lady who is the Grand Theatre is fading. We are here on faith, moved from Orlando, Florida, in an attempt to breathe life back into this unsung heroine.

Built in the late 20’s or early 30’s as a vaudeville palace, the Grand went the way of many theaters of her type, which is to be converted to a cinema. It appears from all the information I can gather that none of the owners of this theater in this timeframe had the vision or the finances to allow this lady to really achieve her name.

Our desire is to purchase this theater, restore her — perhaps to a condition she never enjoyed — and to host movies as well as other theatrical events, including concerts, recitals, plays, dramatic readings and inspirational/motivational speakers. Our mission is to provide all forms of family-friendly entertainment, and to engage the community to be involved in the process.

There is no venue for entertainment within 30 miles of this town. Even with a college in town, opening this 300+ seat theater would make it the largest auditorium for any purpose in that same radius. All people, young and old alike, will benefit from the opportunities this theater will provide. That is why we are confident that if we restore the theater, we will restore the community!

To kick things off, we need a modest mortgage. There are some smaller loans available to businesses in this area, as economic renewal is of prime concern to the state of West Virginia.

Please contact Gabe Saporito at 304-457-4180 or by .

Theaters in this post

Comments (6)

worshipgeek
worshipgeek on December 28, 2006 at 9:39 am

Bryan,

In spite of their best efforts, Wickedly Delicious closed just a few short months after it opened. I suspect the guys didn’t follow the cardinal rule of theater (which applies just as much to business): “know thy audience”. :–) The place was really nice. Perhaps just a little to “metro” for the people of Philippi. Too bad. I kinda liked them, and really hoped for the best.

We’re planning to open a cafe there, once we’ve actually managed to buy the place, unless the owners lease it out from under us before we can close. With the help of some of the people in the area whom we’ve met, I think we have a shot at keeping it going.

How do you know about the Grand? Are you from Philippi? Did you go to Alderson-Broaddus? I don’t want to get too far off topic in this forum. E-mail me directly if you have some history to share. Thanks!

Gabe

jukingeo
jukingeo on February 27, 2007 at 1:24 pm

Is this project still under way, or is it abandoned? If abandoned, I would like to get more information about the building. Pictures would be helpful and also the sale price. I am interested in this building because it is a theatre with living quarters and other income possibilities, in addition to the theatre. I would like to use it for a live venue. Does the building have a full back stage area? Again pictures are worth 1000 words.

Thank You,

Geo

worshipgeek
worshipgeek on February 27, 2007 at 1:48 pm

The project is still under way. As of February 27, 2007, we are about a week from securing financing.

grandofphilippi
grandofphilippi on February 28, 2007 at 5:08 am

Geo…My name is Karen. My husband and I are the current owners of this theatre and would very much like to speak with you in detail. I have great pictures and of course all information needed since we have own this building for 13 years. I was VERY surprised to see our theatre listed on this site and some of the facts, though minor, are incorrect. We have just told our realtor to put her back on the market as of last week. I can be reached at 973-377-2166 for all the sales information.
Thank you,
Karen

jukingeo
jukingeo on February 28, 2007 at 12:11 pm

Hello Karen,

I been with Cinema Treasures for a while now in search of a theatre. I do have a unique case in that I want to sell my overpriced (and overtaxed) home in NY and settle down in an area where the cost of living is lower. So naturally the price of the building is a concern. Since I would be selling my home, the fact that your building has apartments makes it VERY attractive to me.

Being that you mentioned that you owned the building for 13 years, I guess it is save to assume that you are not the same group that ‘Gabe’ was referring to above. Naturally I don’t want to step on anyone elses toes if they have dibs on the place. But if not, I certainly would like to find out more about the building. You can reach me at My busy schedule offers very little telephone time per day and I do most of my emails at night. Other concerns (outside of the apartment) is if the building is set up for live shows, if there is adequet free parking capability near or around the building. Finally…the condition. Obviously this is where the pictures mainly come into play. Also if you could let me know what major repairs the building needs, that would be of help as well.

Thank you for responding.

Geo

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