The State Theatre reaches impasse

posted by chettrask on January 15, 2007 at 4:47 am

BENTON HARBOR, MI — Sorry to all of our friends in the St. Joe and Benton Harbor area, but after 15 months of working on the theater, restoring the lobby, projector and screen, we were unable to work out a lease agreement with the very difficult owners of the State Theatre.

We basically had to dismantle all of our good work and the theater is in fairly good condition, with the exception of the roof that is expected to collapse in less than 15 months (according to 3 roofing experts we met with over the last year).

It seats over 400 people and has a very large 17x34' screen. It was built in 1942 and our 3 year restoration plan has been rejected for completely unknown reasons. The rumors we have heard from the owners (the very little communication we have had over our time there) is that they are either going to mothball the theater (which in my opinion will destroy the theater in less than 2 years) or try to lease it for some ungodly amount.

We ran classic films in their original format that must be seen on the big screen, independent films once a month and live performances. It is with great sorrow and complete mystery as to why this is happening. Our prayer is that someone will save the theater before it collapses as it is the only historic theater of the 5 that used to exist in the area.

Just thought some of you might want to know.

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Comments (2)

KenLayton on January 15, 2007 at 5:08 am

This is horrible news. Sounds like this theater will suffer the worst fate you could possibly imagine: demolition by neglect! It’s a pity that the owners are so short-sighted and greedy.

steelbeard1 on January 16, 2007 at 6:36 pm

Agreed. I spread the word around to View link and they won’t like this one bit.

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