Saginaw, MI - Saginaw’s historic Court Street Theatre gets new life

posted by ThrHistoricalSociety on March 7, 2017 at 9:30 am

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From Mlive.com: After sitting vacant for nearly two years, Saginaw’s historic Court Street Theatre is getting new life.

The single-screen theater, built in 1938 and located at 1216 Court, closed in 2015. Now, signs posted outside announce that a newly refurbished theater is coming soon.

Saginaw-based Raynemaker LLC purchased the property in April 2016 for $85,000, according to the Saginaw Area GIS Authority.

Two city permits were pulled recently for work on the property: a building permit for siding and painting and a plumbing permit for fixtures and drains. Gerald G. Bergman Inc. and Earegood Plumbing & Heating Inc. are the contractors.

Crews have been working on the building for months. It has an all-new facade but the vertical sign on the marquee still reads “Court.” Painters were working inside the lobby Thursday morning, March 2, applying fresh coats of bright colors.

The building’s owner could not be reached for comment and details of the project, including a timeline for reopening the theater, are unclear.

“My understanding is that they are working on the interior at this point and that their goal is to return it to the grander state it has been for the past several decades, which is obvious by the exterior work,” said Paul Barrera, owner of Jake’s Old City Grill, 100 S. Hamilton St. in Old Town Saginaw.

“At a point when they’re ready, and that readiness they’ll determine, they’ll open up for movies as well as special events.”

Barrera said this investment on Court Street is another positive step for Old Town and the surrounding area.

“Development in the city by individual entrepreneurs is where the future is. I think that the Court (Street) Theatre, when it’s completed, will be a shining star in that strip and spur on other development there, too.”

Jennifer McKendree, owner of neighboring Court Street Antiques, 1214 Court St., is glad to see the investment being made next door. When her business opened in 2012, it was one of only a few on the block, along with the Court Street Theatre and Katy’s Kards. Now, the antique shop is one of several businesses there.

“We’re really excited. I love driving by at night and the whole front’s lit up,” she said. “It’s a remarkable transformation to have a block go from two businesses to maybe six.”

McKendree is optimistic about what having the theater open again will mean for her business and others nearby.

“I think it’s going to bring new business in, you know, people who don’t usually drive by. I think it’s going to bring in out-of-town people — even local people.”

Other Court Street businesses include Rock Your Locks Salon, The Listening Room, Brasseur Electric Trains, Phat Cat Guitars, Bauer’s Jewelry and Liza J. Originals.

Katy’s Kards, located at 1200 Court, has been in business for about 21 years and manager Christina Sieggreen has been there for nearly 15 of them. She’s also looking forward to the theater’s reopening.

“A lot of the customers talk about it. They ask us a lot of questions about it. You know, we don’t really know a whole lot of details, but it’s exciting,” she said, taking a break from shoveling snow from the sidewalk in front of the card and party supply shop Thursday. “Everybody’s always loved the Court Street Theatre. I mean, everybody can’t wait for it to come back.”

Sieggreen said her grandfather worked at the Court Street Theatre in the 1950s or ‘60s.

“My mom said, because she had 12 brothers and sisters, she said they always loved how he got to bring home the old popcorn,” Sieggreen laughed.

Like McKendree, Sieggreen expects having the theater open again will be good for everyone.

“It will be good for the business and nice for the neighborhood.”

Story link, with extensive photo gallery, at: http://www.mlive.com/news/saginaw/index.ssf/2017/03/saginaws_shuttered_court_stree.html

ABOUT THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA: Founded by Ben Hall in 1969, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) celebrates, documents and promotes the architectural, cultural and social relevance of America’s historic theatres. Through its preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive, its signature publication Marquee™ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres.

Learn more about historic theatres in the THS American Theatre Architecture Archives and on our website at historictheatres.org

Visit our site also to learn about our Los Angeles Conclave this June!

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