Looking for theater to buy

posted by adix5689 on September 24, 2007 at 3:45 pm

I am looking for an old theater to buy in the MD, DC or PA area.


Comments (10)

NativeForestHiller on September 24, 2007 at 11:32 pm

Hi! I know it’s pushing your boundaries, but would you consider purchasing a highly significant theater in NY? I may have an idea. Please provide your e-mail address or e-mail me at

TheaterBuff1 on September 25, 2007 at 8:43 am

One of the grandest movie palaces on America’s entire east coast is currently up for sale — The Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (known for a time as the Sameric). As such, it is Philadelphia’s last standing movie palaces and is in a prime location, Center City. Meantime, you can see magnificent photo images of it at the following link: View link

And my personal feeling is that it’s totally ripe for digital cinema, being as no other theater in Philadelphia has this right now. This link — http://www.econsult.com/files/boyd.pdf — gives you a full summary of its tremendous earning and revenue-generating potential. So by all means give strong thought regarding possibly purchasing the Boyd.

SchineHistorian on September 27, 2007 at 5:15 am

If you were to consider Ohio, the beautiful (but endangered) Norwalk Theater in Norwalk Ohio is available immediately. It is still in good shape, but the current owners took on more than they bargained for and have not been able to keep it up to the high standards of the previous owners. Therefore, additional neglect to basic maintenance is going to take a quick toll unless someone moves in fast!

dennisczimmerman on September 29, 2007 at 10:06 pm

Here in Lancaster Co., Pa, we have two theatres which are still standing, but have not been used for years. The Joy Theatre in Mt. Joy, PA is complete except for seats. The owners have been using the theatre for family storage. The lobby has been divided up into offices. I have pictures I took of the inside of the theatre earlier this year. The building housing the theatre has two retail establishments (the owner of the building has a “pizza shop” in one of them). There are also, I think nine apartments in the building. In addition, in Marietta, PA the Marietta historical association is in the process of restoring the Marietta Theatre. The Marietta Theatre is listed here on Cinema Treasures. They are restoring it, but, according to local newspaper articles, have no definite plans what to do with it when it is ready for use.

georgeator on October 11, 2007 at 6:58 pm

There is a theater located in the town of Bloomsburg,Pennsylvania that is for sale. It is a great college town, home to Bloomsburg University. The theater was twinned by converting the balcony section into a second screen. It has not been in operation for 10? years, but worth checking out. Perhaps the town’s chamber of commerce would have more information.

NativeForestHiller on October 11, 2007 at 8:22 pm

adix5689 – Please contact me at as soon as you can, since I’ve got a pressing issue to share with you. One of the most significant theaters is up for sale and highly endangered of being demolished. Since NY may be beyond your horizons, perhaps you know of a saviour. Please HELP! Thank you!

maryanneconmy on December 9, 2007 at 8:14 am

I hope I’m not too late with this email, but if you are looking for a fantastic old theater to purchase and renovate, Richmond, VA has several that might be of interest – The East End Theater, and the Robinson Theater, both Art Deco theaters are located in historic Church Hill. There are many vacant theaters of architectural and historic significance that need buyers who will restore/renovate and return them to use! There are historic tax credits, tax abatement and incentives available for buyers to restore/renovate historic properties in the city neighborhoods. if you are interested, please feel free to email me at and i can direct you to the proper information and resources -i.e. – www.oldrichmondneighborhoods.org

The following paragraph is from the National Register of Historic Places Survey conducted in 1997 of structures in Richmond, VA’s Church Hill neighborhood: Robinson Theater 2903: Theater (Robinsob ca. 1938. Brick, 5-course American Bond, Bstory,facade, Flat-roofed, Art Deco, contributing-
“The final icon of the transformation of this section of Church Hill into a middle class African-American neighborhood is the Robinson Theater. The Robinson Theater was built in 1936 at2903 Q Street by the Hill Amusement Corporation as a ‘colored’ theater. The builders were James Foxand Sons and thearchitect vms Edward F. Sinnott. Sinnott had no formal architecturaltraining but he worked for several Richmondfirms before securing his registration in 1925. After1925, he was associated with W. Duncan Lee and later with Luther P. Harbook. He established his independent practice by 1930 and specialized in school and institutional design andrestoration work.” The new theater was named for Bill ‘Bojangles’ Robinson, a native son, born in Jackson Wardon 25 May 1878.

HaccCowboy on January 7, 2008 at 5:30 pm

First off the Marietta movie theatre I could give some information on being that I spent a day tracking down a kind old gentleman, whom allowed me to even enter it with him. It seems it has not been moving forward because, of your usual red tape that is involved when a large group of people try to get something down. It was a very decentlooking theatre as far as the size goes, was also one of the few very old movie theatres dating from the silent era which was made exclusively for showing silent movies. Although, today the shape of it is that you need a whole entire floor to be put in it the former owner let it sit vacant for many years and this is just for starters. And like anything that sits with out care for many a year, it became very bad shape. I volunteered my services to the people whom are looking at bringing it back that if they ever do I would happy to run it for them. Which gets me to asking what is the word on the Joy Theatre in Mount Joy is there any contact info which anyone might have myself and another guy both of us in our late 20’s have been trying to get up a old movie theatre in central PA and this might just be thing for us.

dennisczimmerman on January 8, 2008 at 1:44 am

The Joy Theatre has just been added to this website. I was working with a person in the Spring of 2007 that was interested in buying this theatre. I have pictures of the outside and inside of the theatre. It is my understanding that it is currently on the market for $650,000.00. I had taken pictures of the outside of the building both front and rear. Then I got in contact with the real estate office which uses what used to be the theatre lobby. I made arrangements to meet him and he took me into the theatre. It is in realatively good shape considering it has been unused since the 1960’s. The seats are gone. But the murals are still on the walls and the screen is still there on a small stage. However, the screen is torn. I think it held about 500-700 seats when it was in operation. There were two aisles separating three sections of seating. I had talked to a Stacy Rutherford last year. She is (or was if she is no longer there?) the manager of Main Street Mount Joy. They are really looking to get Main Street back on the map. And were hoping someone would develop the theatre. There are nine apartments and two retail establishments included in the entire building. The one retail is a pizza/sandwich shop which is operated by the owner of the building. He was last year looking to sell, because he wants to retire. I notice if the $650,000.00 price is accurate, he has come down in price from last year. Anyway the phone number for Stacy Rutherford is 717-6534227. Her email address is If you are interested in looking at the pictures, I would be more than happy to email them to you. The photo on the listing on this website has a photo of the marquee. The real estate office in the theatre building is the one marketing the property.

NativeForestHiller on March 20, 2008 at 10:15 am

Hi! I don’t have a theater in mind that meets your specifications, but I am seeking parties of interest that may “save the day” for an endangered early 20th century NY theater by the prolific Thomas Lamb. The theater may be available for lease or purchase. If you are interested, please contact me at your earliest convenience for more information. Timing is crucial! Thanks!

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