Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet

1400 Main Street,
Kansas City, MO 64105

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Showing 101 - 115 of 115 comments

USSSEAVIEW10 on December 8, 2004 at 9:50 am

As a matter of words I went by the place the other day it’s not looking good as I said in my first comments it’s gonna cost some money I’ve been following this deal about the developer wanting to tear it down now the city is supposed to get a hold of it and turn it over to the cordish people now if that happens the place a chance thats if the developer follows through on that agreement with the city. From my observation from the outside the place is salvagable I don’t know and who knows why the developer wanted to have it condemed it down but my guess would probably be he doesn’t want to pay taxes on it anymore it should look real hopeful for the RKO

claydoh77 on December 7, 2004 at 7:55 pm

Yes, to follow up on my previous comment; according to Mary Bagley’s book on Missouri’s Theatres:

“AMC changed the name to the Empire and opened it with the movie Exodus as a reserved-seat, road-show house. The theatre retained an organist until 1961, when there was a dispute with the musicians' union. Still under AMC ownership, the theatre was split into two- the Empire and Royal- in 1969. Then in 1980 it was halved again into the Empire 4 theatres.”

claydoh77 on December 7, 2004 at 2:20 pm

The theatre was split into 2 auditoriums and later 4 by AMC. I believe that at one point one side was called Empire while the other side was called Royal.

USSSEAVIEW10 on December 7, 2004 at 1:57 pm

when my friend went into the theater he told me after words that it was completly wide open there was no split or divide to seperate the theater into two theaters may be at one time they did have a split but as far as he could tell there was nothing except a wide open balcony including the main floor when you the cinema room the only things that are still in there is the seat that I have to say is in very poor condition due to the damage of rain and neglect over the years but they are salvagable. there was some talk that the empire was split into four but I hardly doubt it there evidence of that unless someone could show up some pictures that could put the icing on the cake wether it was split or not.

USSSEAVIEW10 on November 24, 2004 at 9:39 am

As far as the Empire goes I know of someone who went inside the building almost a year ago, from what I’ve heard it’s a real mess and has a lot of water damage. some of the wood has rotted and there is filtered sunlight in some area’s of the theater comming from the roof, From the exterior and interior point of view it is restorable but it’s gonna need a lot of work done to it from what I’ve heard it’s gonna an access of $10 million to totally fix and renovate the theater back to it’s former glory. Again it is salvagable

sdoerr on November 15, 2004 at 3:33 pm

“Future Looks Hopeful for Kansas City’s Empire Theater"

RobbKCity on November 14, 2004 at 12:38 pm

Here is a link to the Kansas City Public Library Local History database which shows a postcard of the Empire Theater from 1923 when it was the Main Street Theater.

View link

As for the President Hotel that was mentioned above, renovation has resumed and it is expected to open in 2006 as a Hilton Historic Hotel. It is just across the street from the Empire. There used to be a tunnel that ran from the hotel under the street to the theater. I don’t know if it is still open or not.

Check here to see a photo of, and for updates on the President Hotel:
View link

Check here to see the new Power & Light Live entertainment district being developed around both the Empire Theater and President Hotel.

View link

RobbKCity on November 14, 2004 at 10:55 am

Things are looking up for the Empire Theater. It appears that the city has rejected a plan that would have constructed a new headquarters building on the site for Kansas City Power & Light. It appears that the Empire will be preserved. The Cordish Co. has plans to redevelop the property into a live music venue and nightclub as part an entertainment district they are developing across the street. City officials appear to be supporting this effort, since they turned down the request of two very powerful downtown property owners and developers.

For more information, read the Kansas City Star article from Nov. 11, 2004, here:

View link

claydoh77 on August 25, 2004 at 2:43 pm

From what I’ve read in the KC Star (Article appeared on 8/13/03), the owner obtained a pre-demolition permit. Possibly wanting to raze the building for future development.

There is a lot of info & some pictures (interior & exterior) about this theatre in Mary Bagley’s book: “Front Row: Missouri’s Grand Theatres”. At the time of publishing in 1984, the theatre was still operating.

The theatre was divided and turned into a four-plex at some point & I’ve heard that a lot of the interior elements & charm are gone. It has been closed since 1985 & I personally have never been inside of the theatre, though it is a really neat building & the exterior is a downtown landmark, though it has never been given specific landmark status.

I would love to see the building saved & hope someone can do it. If I had the funds I would open a nightclub/multi-use facility as has been done with other theatres like KC’s Uptown.

doblick on August 21, 2004 at 8:22 am

An interesting history of the Empire. Unfortunately, as mentioned, it appears from I have read in the Kansas City Star, that the building’s fate is sealed and soon will become nothing more than a memory, unless anyone has heard otherwise which would be great. It’s a shame with the Hotel President’s renovation seemingly in progress again, that the same cannot be done for the Empire.

sdoerr on July 27, 2004 at 6:09 am

What a nice looking theater, the facade looks untouched. How is the interior looking? Any pics?

kariann57 on June 28, 2004 at 1:02 pm

It would be wonderful if there were a person with the vision and ability to raise the necessary funds and put together a consortium so that the Empire Theater and the President Hotel could be renovated and made a part of Downtown Kansas City again. It is understandable if the City can only afford to resurrect the facade of the Empire. But more needs to be done. The Hotel President is a wonderful piece of architecture and history. Many presidents have stayed at that hotel and I’m sure there are stories to be told if only……..

bruceanthony on May 16, 2004 at 10:54 am

I noticed the Empire is not on a list of theatres that will be toured on the Kansas City conclave.Is there a reason why?brucec

JimRankin on April 29, 2004 at 3:34 am

Tour of Missouri, Oklahoma and Kansas Theatres in 2004
From June 26 through July 1, 2004 the Theatre Historical Society of America will tour a number of theatres in Kansas City Missouri and surrounding areas, including theatres in Lamar, Joplin, Richmond, St. Joseph and Springfield, MO, as well as Miami, OK, and these cities in Kansas: Leavenworth, Kansas City, Emporia, El Dorado, Augusta, Wichita, Hutchinson, McPherson, Salina, Concordia, and Topeka. More information is contained on their web site: and special photos and information concerning the Kansas City theatres: UPTOWN and the MIDLAND is available on this temporary page of their site at: A glossy brochure about this “Heart of America” Conclave is available from the Society’s headquarters listed on their homepage, via E-mail to the Ex. Director, or via snail mail. Membership in the Society is not required to attend the Conclave and tour the theatres, but fees do apply as detailed on their site. Bring your camera and lots of film, for it is usually difficult or impossible to enter these theatres for photos, and some of them will surely not be with us in the years to come.