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WAVERLY (KWWL) –
UPDATE: Gary Nelson, President of Phoenix Theaters released a statement on the decision to abruptly close Palace Theatre in Waverly.
“"It has been announced with much sadness that the Palace Theater here in Waverly will be closing the business effective Monday, February 19th.
Back in 1999 the antiquated theater building was acquired and underwent a major renovation to resurrect the one time cornerstone of the downtown area on Bremer Avenue. “The project was taken on in hopes of being a springboard for further development in the downtown area”, states Gary Nelson, President of Phoenix Theaters the owner of the Palace. “Back in the 90’s the theater was identified as a key component of helping to jumpstart renewed interest in downtown development. The building and the theaters themselves had deteriorated to the point that there was only one working speaker in the main auditorium.”
The renovation created a new front lobby, main floor bathrooms, all new state of the art sound and projections systems and added a third screen to the building. Unfortunately, the success of the renovation was short lived. “The 2008 flood here in Waverly inundated the building with flood waters and forced the closing of the theater for a couple of months. Once it reopened 30% of the business just never returned, states Nelson. Shortly after the flooding, the industry moved to digital distribution of movies which made film on reels obsolete. New digital projection equipment was necessary to remain in the business and was invested in and installed.”
“The theater has continually struggled to cash flow and the Bremer Avenue reconstruction this past summer dropped business an additional 30% right during the peak spring/summer season and added to the struggle, Nelson said. The digital world is changing how consumers are getting their entertainment. Movie attendance in Waverly is half of what it was 15 years ago and it becomes increasingly difficult to operate a viable business. It becomes a vicious cycle of needing to keep the theater current and up to date but trying to do so with a dwindling level of support, Nelson explains. It really gets to a point where financially you can’t be proud of the product we are putting out there for the community”.
“Conversations over the past couple of years have centered on whether the Waverly community even wants a local theater, according to Nelson. Could the community get behind a “community theater” that might be owned by a non-profit type of community group? I don’t know the answer to that but for now the theater will be closed and the building/business will be put up for sale”.
“To me this is a sad day for the city of Waverly, states Nelson. Hopefully, something can come along that can utilize this historic building in downtown Waverly”.
I used to work at 810 7th Avenue and I believe I went into the Woolworths in 1989.
When they switched to showing Bollywood movies this theatre was thriving. Then it closed due to a strike in the Bollywood film industry. It never re-opened and it’s now a food market.
What a beauty. I visited the Eagle when it was showing porn.
I checked this place out while in Colorado Springs recently and it made me blush.
How did this gem escape destruction
What a beautiful auditorium.
I can only imagine what the interior looks like now
I guess anyone could walk right in.
Wow, I wonder what it looked like when during its last days. This was gorgeous.
Shame there are no interior pictures.
When was it built? Any photos of the original interior?
I went there today to see Victoria and Abdul. Interesting little place. I’ll be going back since the early movies are 9 bucks.
How did you get this great picture? I thought the balcony was closed off. I remember looking up once and I saw the balcony and was fascinated by how big the balcony area was. Great theatre. I’m glad I got to see it before it was destroyed
What a terrible loss
I wonder where the photos of the interior might be? I assume that photos were taking sometime during the theatre’s history. I’m sure we’d all like to know
I wonder how the congregation feels about someone coming in and taking pictures? I would love to see the interior.
To those of us who love movie theatres, we don’t care about the business model. That said, I agree with other posters that any owner of a movie theatre can not pass up millions of dollars for their property.
What a shame they tore down the Century. What a beautiful building. The area where the Gates and Monroe theatres were has undergone a transformation. Gentrification has taken root.
I wonder if it was an ornate interior.
Why was it so sleazy? I am intrigued
There was a gay club on the second floor
Makes me so sad to see this old photo and know it’s now gone. But that said, the money the owner was able to get for the land was too much to pass up.
Wow, why did the people complain about a little porn theater in their midst?
According to the gothamist, the Sunshine is closing.
Are all the theatres in the picture gone?