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nice profile on the latest efforts at the State Theater.
Thanks for posting…fingers crossed.
Complaint was investigated; results:
Disposition: 01/09/2012 – I2 – NO VIOLATION WARRANTED FOR COMPLAINT AT TIME OF INSPECTION
Comments: NO CONST. WORK OBSERVED -ONLY REMOVAL OF DEBRIS AT THE TIME OF INSPECTION
Can’t say that sounds promising.
I have called 311 – I will let you know if anything comes of that. Work continues on the interior and roof of the building. They are carting out at ton of stuff every morning. I got a slightly better look inside (and a sadly blurry picture that I have posted). From my quick glimpse there is actually more left to the ornate plaster work than I originally thought, but the stage is now completely gone and they appear to be digging out the stage floor.
I fear the end for this theater is near. There is a lot of work going on inside – a very quick peak this morning revealed the stage is now completely gone and I saw nothing but bare brick walls in the auditorium – I did not get a great look, but it appears as if they are stripping the interior completely.
There is a lot of work going on the roof of the theater (which visually appears to be in bad shape). For the first time in my 16 years of living in the neighborhood, I saw the doors on Ludlow (closer to Canal than the stage entrance) open. I will do some more investigating – there are no open work permits on the property on the DOB website.
I have noticed a lot of work in the last week with workers coming and going from the back stage door. Lots of rolling dumpsters and Chinese workers. Unfortunately – there is no view into the theater from this door. The few times I have walked by – the dumpsters were empty, but I have a bad feeling about all this. However – I checked the NYC DOB website and there are no permits issued or requested.
And just as an FYI – the Landmark designation would only cover the lobby area – it specifically leaves the auditorium out.
State Theatre finds buyer
Identity, planned use still not revealed.
5:18 a.m. EDT, March 20, 2011
SOUTH BEND — What served as a landmark theater for decades, and is situated among downtown restaurants, stores and offices on Michigan Street, ended up unoccupied and in the hands of a bank.
Rather than announce movie showings or upcoming special events planned inside the historic building, the marquee outside the South Bend State Theatre has twice publicized public sales and auctions, attempting to create an interest from potential investors.
A recent February auction resulted in an undisclosed buyer signing a purchase agreement with Rose Acceptance Inc., a subsidiary of First National Bank of America. The company foreclosed on the State Theatre after a local group’s failed attempt in 2006 to turn the State Theatre into a Christian-focused cultural events center.
The theater had been listed for sale at $599,900.
“The transaction is not complete, but we’re moving toward a closing,” says Chris Patterson, real estate salesman at Rose Acceptance in East Lansing, Mich. “We’re excited for the buyer to take over possession and make it a thriving part of downtown South Bend.”
Possible plans for the State Theatre, which opened in 1921 as the Blackstone Theatre Vaudeville House, and contains bullet holes from a 1934 shootout between police and John Dillinger, whose gang robbed their last bank in that block, have not been disclosed.
But South Bend city officials reveal that the hopeful buyer has invested in a safety-and-systems study to be completed on the theater to ensure the neglected building meets various building department, fire inspection and other codes.
The study, which is currently under way, signals the strongest interest the city has seen from a potential buyer since the building went into foreclosure. But what could become of the structure remains unknown.
“The use of the building is up to the buyer. We do not have a say in the future potential use,” Patterson says.
“I do know the potential buyer will be eager to share with you what the future use will be when the time is right,” he adds. “The future owner wants the building to be a positive presence in the South Bend area.”
This sounds encouraging, especially seeing as South Bend will lose the College Football Hall of Fame to the north of the theater in the coming years and is searching for an adaptive reuse for that building, too.
The State Theatre purchase could be completed within a month or so, at which time area residents may know much more about its redevelopment and reincarnation, which city officials believe could involve a hybrid of an educational center during the day and theater concept at night.
In the daytime, a local college or university could use the theater space and stage for rehearsals or as an extension of its music school, department or program. And on weekend evenings, the State Theatre could turn into a brew-and-view concept, says Tamara Nicholl-Smith, director of downtown business recruitment, Downtown South Bend Inc.
A brew and view is a combination movie theatre-restaurant complex. Food and drink are offered at tables, as opposed to traditional theater seating, while the movie is showing. This concept has not only proven popular among movie-goers in cities across the country, including Chicago, but it also has been known to revitalize older buildings and shopping plazas.
Nicholl-Smith believes such uses could generate income with which the potential purchaser could invest in longer-term theater restorations.
The city has invested more than $250,000 toward the upkeep of the theater’s faÃ§ade as well as improvements to the theater awnings, marquee and roof since the late 1990s. In addition, the Christian nonprofit, Way of Life, said it raised more than $250,000 that was invested in the building before the economic downturn that ultimately led to the bank foreclosure.
“It’s a fact that buildings that are in use and are used by people don’t decay as quickly as buildings that are empty,” Nicholl-Smith says. “So even if someone purchased the State Theatre and couldn’t do a big restoration right away, they could do enough to get in the door and use a percentage of the income generated to renovate piece by piece.”
Opening the doors is the important thing here.
And if this particular purchase agreement or deal does not happen, she is hoping for a community discussion about the theater’s future.
“There ought to be a roundtable, an exploratory roundtable with anyone who has ever been interested in owning or being part of the theater,” said Nicholl-Smith. “Communities have been known to rescue their theaters.
“There are those people in South Bend who fondly remember being in the State Theatre and would love to see it come back to life,” Nicholl-Smith says, “and others have never been inside and want to see it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like the building and doesn’t want to go in. It’s beautiful and historic and harkening a grand era.”
City considering landmark designation for Coney Island Theatre
6:15 PM, February 9, 2010 Î¹ By RICH CALDER
It opened in 1924 with the intention of turning Coney Island into a year-round tourist destination.
And now city officials are considering giving “landmark” designation to the long-shuttered Coney Island Theatre building, so it could be protected and eventually become a key part of Mayor Bloombergâ€™s plan to finally revive the fabled â€" but rundown â€" summer seaside district into a year-round attraction.
“If weâ€™re going to be serious about getting people to Coney Island year-round, we need a live entertainment venue, and this 2,500-seat theater not only showed movies in its heyday, but offered Broadway-style live shows,” said Dick Zigun, of Coney Island USA, which submitted the proposal. “We’re excited.”
However, Kansas Fried Chicken king Horace Bullard and business partner Peter Sheffer, who co-own the Surf Avenue building, said they oppose landmark status because it would “restrict” redevelopment in the amusement district.
“The icons of old Coney Island should be used as an incorporation of a new Coney Island without placement, size, and design restrictions,” they said in an e-mail. “We do not think that the building without modification enhances the long-term viability of the amusement district. Landmarking the building will stymie the future growth of a renowned amusement area that has always been about the latest, greatest and newest.”
The Landmarks Preservation Commission said it will host a public hearing on the matter in the coming months.
The 1920 construction of the Stillwell Avenue subway station and construction of the boardwalk, which made the beachfront publicly accessible for the first time, paved the way for a revamped Coney Island and the building, which is Coney Islandâ€™s tallest and a modest interpretation of an Italian Renaissance palazzo.
The site is unusual for its combination of a theater with a full-size office building, something seen more in Manhattanâ€™s theater district than the outer boroughs.
According to a report released by the city it “was constructed in 1924-25 to the designs of experienced theater architects Reilly & Hall, with associate architect Samuel L. Malkind, all of whom were protÃ©gÃ©s of the famous theater architect Thomas W. Lamb.
“The builder was the Chanin Construction Company, specialists in theater construction. Opened on June 27, 1925 with screenings of the silent film â€˜The Sporting Venusâ€™ and live performances by the famous Siamese twins Violet and Daisy Hilton, the seven-story neo-Renaissance Revival style structure housed a 2,500-seat auditorium theater for vaudeville and motion pictures, as well as six stories of office space.
“Shortly after its opening, the theater came under the operation of Marcus Loew, founder of one of the nationâ€™s premier movie theater chains. According to one source, Al Jolson performed at Loewâ€™s Coney Island Theatre on August 11, 1949.”
Renamed “Shore Theater” in 1964, it fell on hard times in its final years as an adult movie house and bingo parlor before closing for good in 1973.
The hearing was this morning and board unanimously voted in favor to calendar the Shore Theater – the next step is a public hearing.
More can be found here:
Horace Bullard – the founder of Kansas Fried Chicken – owns several properties around Coney Island, including the Shore. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, he had grand plans of building a new Steeplechase Park, but it was squashed for a variety of reasons and he was eventually shut out by the construction of the Brooklyn Cyclones stadium on that property. In 2000, the city bulldozed the Thunderbolt roller coaster on his property which set off years of lawsuits along with major issues of unpaid back taxes. He has been very bitter about any dealings with the city and I believe he is waiting for a top dollar offer before making any moves.
I’ve heard mixed stories about that the state of the Shore theater – my impression is that there is water damage and a lot of pigeon damage, but nothing that couldn’t be remedied. The building has had some issues with falling terra cotta in the last 5 years and has been surrounded by a safety awning. From the few people I know that have been in the building in the last couple of years – they felt that it was a viable property for a live concert venue – something that could work well as part of Coney’s revitalization.
Landmark Designation hearing on 2/9/10
Thank you so much for sharing these. If we could only get a sense what the current condition of the building is.
here are few recent photos:
here are 2 recent photos of the Avon:
I finally got a few of my snapshots up:
Thanks to the attempt to bring the theater back to life in the 90’s and then as a night club – the building got a lot needed attention. Unfortunately now – the church that uses the building only appears to use the small lobby up front – not the auditorium. I really love this theater, but with the beautifully restored Morris Civic (Palace) a few blocks away, the Avon (one block away) still boarded up, and the state of South Bend’s and the nation’s economy – I fear for the State Theater. I took some pictures which I will post a link to very soon.
The lobby actually has a high ceiling…probably 25 feet.
4Hope – the entire builing is still standing. The lobby is well worn, no idea what the state of the auditorium is – but it’s big!
The State Theater now serves at the Life Church:
Did you get inside the auditorium? What type of damage are you talking about? Did you take pictures?
Would love to hear more.
It appeared as if they were moving things in.
I’ve walked by the last two morning and the back stage door entrance has been open with Chinese workers moving stuff in/around. Not really sure what is going on. Can’t really see much from the doorway and the workers didn’t speak any english. Will continue to enquire.