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Former Four Star Theatre Division and Burton


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40 on the curb for the Eastown Theater.  The church is like a dead zone in that neighborhood

SOLD, and not to a church. Hurray! http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2017/05/developer_buys_shuttered_1930s.html  

That's a good idea, turn a non-tax producing prime property into a..... non-tax producing property. Is the Kroc Center not a holy enough community center for people? Asking for a friend.

Last I heard, a church has purchased the building (or at least an option to purchase), and is in the process of fundraising/planning. They seem to have a keen interest on making the building a community center, rather than just using it on Sunday mornings. Here's their website: http://www.unisongr.com/unison-theater-project/

Edited by organsnyder
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From a tax revenue perspective, it would be no different than the Wealthy Theatre, no?

I find it unlikely that this building would be able to house a for-profit business in the foreseeable future. There are plenty of other developable properties nearby. I'm fine with it being owned by a non-profit (religious or otherwise), as long as the facility serves the community throughout the week.

I have no affiliation with this church (I really know very little about it), but I'm happy to see them taking an interest in the building. They seem (from what I've heard) to have the right mindset when it comes to envisioning how the building would fit in with the neighborhood.

Also, regarding the Kroc: In almost every way, it's a suburban-style facility. From the perspective of Burton Heights, it might as well be on 28th Street. Nothing wrong with that, but it's nowhere near filling the same need as what the Four Star Theatre has the potential to fill.

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On 3/7/2017 at 7:46 AM, organsnyder said:

From a tax revenue perspective, it would be no different than the Wealthy Theatre, no?

I find it unlikely that this building would be able to house a for-profit business in the foreseeable future. There are plenty of other developable properties nearby. I'm fine with it being owned by a non-profit (religious or otherwise), as long as the facility serves the community throughout the week.

I have no affiliation with this church (I really know very little about it), but I'm happy to see them taking an interest in the building. They seem (from what I've heard) to have the right mindset when it comes to envisioning how the building would fit in with the neighborhood.

Also, regarding the Kroc: In almost every way, it's a suburban-style facility. From the perspective of Burton Heights, it might as well be on 28th Street. Nothing wrong with that, but it's nowhere near filling the same need as what the Four Star Theatre has the potential to fill.

All I see is churches for miles! :) I think the last thing these inner city neighborhoods need are more churches, liquor stores or check cashing places (yes, I lump them together). They've traditionally not served the communities well in raising them up from their current impoverished situation. Kroc Center is a backwards thinking church masquerading as a health club. 

At least Wealthy Theatre injects some money into the economy, even though it's a 501c3. A non-profit theatre/event venue like Wealthy Theatre would do a lot more for Burton Heights than another church. 

 

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20 minutes ago, GRDadof3 said:

:yahoo:This is terrific.  So glad the developer is looking to restore it!  Given what an effort Wealthy was, I'm sure this will be an arduous undertaking.

Never seen the inside before.  That stage is bizarre.

Edited by RegalTDP
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22 minutes ago, joeDowntown said:

That is great news. Hope he can make it work. Sounds like the stage may be from its 80s nightclub days. They said it used to have cages for the dancers. :)

Joe

I've heard Grand Rapids natives talk about the shenanigans that used to go on at this place, but none of them could remember where it was located. Now I know.

Midget tossing, whips and chains, cage dancers, back room sex toys. :)  This and Carnival had quite the reputation apparently? 

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We (Catholic Central) had part of our Senior all night party there in 1990. Do schools still do that?  It did have Circus theme from what I recall. :D  I don't recall the back room sex toys and midgets.

Edited by mpchicago
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13 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

I've heard Grand Rapids natives talk about the shenanigans that used to go on at this place, but none of them could remember where it was located. Now I know.

Midget tossing, whips and chains, cage dancers, back room sex toys. :)  This and Carnival had quite the reputation apparently? 

Never went. I know that it was a really popular place that slowly slid into obscurity. I think when it was on the downhill slide is when all the crazy stuff started happening. 

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Went there multiple times when it was the nightclub. It was surreal; like Eastown Shout's brother who got in with the wrong crowd..

I remember TV8 doing a Live at 5 preview of the club before it opened, and the owner told the reporter that they had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lighting alone..

 

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19 hours ago, RegalTDP said:

:yahoo:This is terrific.  So glad the developer is looking to restore it!  Given what an effort Wealthy was, I'm sure this will be an arduous undertaking.

Never seen the inside before.  That stage is bizarre.

If he's doing a real restoration he's got a huge task ahead of him.  There's barely anything left of the original theater (interior finishings, hardware, etc.)  Maybe that's a blessing and it will be easier to simply buy a new interior rather than rehabbing such old furnishings.  

Anybody know if there are pics online of what it looked like inside when it first opened?

Here's a nice gallery of old theaters from their heyday 

http://www.historygrandrapids.org/collection/4249/theatre-collection

Edited by scottythe1nonly
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15 hours ago, scottythe1nonly said:

If he's doing a real restoration he's got a huge task ahead of him.  There's barely anything left of the original theater (interior finishings, hardware, etc.)  Maybe that's a blessing and it will be easier to simply buy a new interior rather than rehabbing such old furnishings.  

Anybody know if there are pics online of what it looked like inside when it first opened?

Here's a nice gallery of old theaters from their heyday 

http://www.historygrandrapids.org/collection/4249/theatre-collection

Wealthy Theatre was way worse when they started restoration, although Peter Wege had an unending bank account to put toward it, apparently. 

http://www.wegefoundation.com/tag/wealthy-street-theatre/

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5 hours ago, GRDadof3 said:

Wealthy Theatre was way worse when they started restoration, although Peter Wege had an unending bank account to put toward it, apparently. 

http://www.wegefoundation.com/tag/wealthy-street-theatre/

He grew up in the area. So being frugal wasn't a motivator. Also turned the party store on the corner of wealthy and fuller into a bank. Anyone remember rolling up on that intersection in 1995?

Joe

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