34 W. Lancaster Avenue,
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The Ardmore Theater opened May 17, 1922, and according to a Main Line Times article shortly before the theatre closed, it was designed by architect Clarence Woolmington. It was acquired by the Stanley Co. in 1926 and they were later taken over by Warner Bros. Circuit Management. In 1950, the marquee was redone to the round shape that survived for decades. It remained a popular movie house for over seven decades until it was closed by United Artists in 2000.
After closing, the theater later appeared on the Lower Merion Conservancy’s 2001 top ten list of endangered historical buildings.
It was too late, however, and in a a move that mimics a growing national trend, the Beaux-Arts style Ardmore Theater was gutted and reopened as a fitness center in 2002.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Sports Clubs had its eye on the Ardmore Theater ever since it was closed in August, 2000.
The gym’s parent company, Town Sports International studied closed and troubled historic movie theaters in the Philly area to determine which might be take-over targets. The company tried to acquire the Bryn Mawr Theater, but it was saved for movies by being purchased by a nonprofit organization.
Because of Town Sport’s renovation, the Ardmore Theater will never reopen as a theater. The gymnasium was closed July 31, 2014. In April 2017, a furniture store opened in the former theater, with an additional entry of a new glass door at the back.
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