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The theater marquee and entrance can be seen on the cover of Steve Smith & The Nakeds' 1984 album Coming to a Theatre Near You. The “OCEAN” vertical and “State” script were still in place, with PPAC identified by a banner hanging below the marquee.
I saw Stranger than Fiction at the Logan last night (in Theater 3), and while talking to the manager after the show, learned that the scene in wich Harold Crick is watching Monty Python’s Meaning of Life was filmed right there in Theater 1! He also says the original auditorium is intact behind the quadding. The staff and other customers were all very friendly, and concessions are inexpensive.
According to the Rockford Twp Assessor’s Office, the property is held in trust by Chicago Title Land Trust.
Iwebworks, a graphic design firm, lists the address of their Rockford office as 721 East State Street #303. If they are indeed located in the theater building, they may be of some assistance.
The building isn’t for sale; the owner has already submitted plans to the City for demolition. The new six-story development will have 70 condominium units, 67 parking spaces and (drum roll, please) a two-screen movie theater for Bollywood films. There is no evidence of demolition work yet.
According to the Nortown Theater ‘blog, there actually was a fire in the building on August 9.
As of last week, it looked pretty much the same as it does in Gerald A. DeLuca’s June, 2005 photos. The owner of an antique store nearby said a portion of Pontiac Avenue is supposed to be closed soon to accommodate construction activity, so maybe there is hope.
At a July debate, mayor-elect Michael Napolitano threatened that he would take the property by eminent domain if work doesn’t progress.
Correction to my 12/5/06 post – three stores are open, Asiana Outlet Store, Asia Hosiery, and Fabulous Food Mart. There are now signs saying “Lot for Sale, 3300-3314 W. Lawrence.” The owner says he is not sure yet if he is going to rebuild, tear the building down, or leave it as-is.
The theatre owners finally secured funding for the project in May, 2006. Construction was to have restarted, but some elements of the building needed to be redesigned following review by the Cranston Historic District Commission. Now the owners say sidewalk demolition and erection of scaffolding will happen this month, and steel will be delivered in mid-January.
When completed, the theatre will have 1,100 seats and will feature a “Cyber CafÃ©” and a second-floor upscale Meditteranean-style restaurant where the Park Avenue storefronts were.
Here’s more from the Providence Journal, 12/5/06.
Thanks for the correction.
The Oriental is definitely well cared for, and there are more than a couple of theater buffs among the staff there. It is, however, owned by Mark “day-and-date” Cuban’s Landmark Theatres…
According to a brief article from the 9/2/06 Providence Journal Business Roundup, National Amusements closed the Apple Valley due to “business related factors, some of which are related to a population shift” – not because they switched from a dollar show to a first run, full-price house with minimal improvements.
This theater never operated under the Showcase name. As the Four Seasons, it was painted white, and it had multi-colored signage on the building faÃ§ade, which made it look a million times better than the gray bunker that it is now.
The two stores closest to Spaulding, which do not back up to where the auditorium was, have reopened. The remaining stores remain boarded up, both in front and in back, and the Tae Kwon Doe parlor on the second floor also looks like it has not reopened. There is no evidence of reconstruction going on, but it isn’t exactly construction season right now.
The Portage is having its first annual Christmas Spectacular on Friday, December 15, with Santa, the Revolutionary Swing Orchestra, a Christmas sing-along with the great Jay Warren at the organ, and a showing of White Christmas. See http://www.portagetheater.org/Dec15.pdf for details.
Apologies for responding to an almost three-year-old comment, but in response to Richard Dziadzio’s 3/12/04 post, I’d be happy to host your photos.
Or the owner told the reporter there was a fire.
I’m 99% certain the organ is still there.
Every doorway has been sealed over with plywood. It’s over.
There is no evidence of fire damage from the outside.
Like sitting through a ten-minute lecture is actually going to modify the behavior of the problem kids? Sure, they’ll sit through the class, get the card, and cause trouble anyway. All this does is punish the good kids.
Is this film available anywhere? I’d love to see it!
Four years is a long, long time for a building to be sitting idle. The Marboro in Bensonhurst had deteriorated significantly in just one year. The Midway in Rockford, IL was in use in 2005; if you stand on the sidewalk in front of it today, the smell of mold is overpowering. All it takes is one leak, one burst pipe, or a couple of squatters or vandals.
As of this morning, the auditorium is gone, along with the back walls of all the storefronts. I agree that it looks like the storefronts and faÃ§ade may be saved; there is only construction fencing along the alley, not on the Lawrence or Spaulding building frontages.
The film is only 26 minutes long, but what a 26 minutes! It’s one of the best documentaries I’ve seen on any subject, and it’s a must-have for anyone involved in theater preservation.
I’d be happy to add your photos to my page (the one Paul Fortini linked to). I’ll properly attribute them to you, of course.
How does a theater that was restored in 1997, then remodeled and given a new sound system in 2004 need a “complete rehab”?