Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LaSalle Theater Back on the Block!

On December 3, the LaSalle Theater went to Sheriff's Sale. As a result of the foreclosure sale, the property is now in the hands of their lender. We are very excited and optimistic that this is the beginning of a new LaSalle Theater.

The lender has already contacted Northeast Shores to discuss our interest in the property. On the one hand, this building is a major architectural feature on East 185th Street. This property is a significant feature in this vital commercial district. On the other hand, the building has serious deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed. Also, a one-screen movie theater with no parking lot is a tough structure to rent.

So, Northeast Shores needs your advice! What do we do with the LaSalle Theater? We are asking specifically about the theater space. The rest of the building is obvious. Rehab the storefronts and rent them to good businesses. Rehab the upstairs apartments and rent them to great neighbors.

But, what do we do with the theater space? Please add your suggestions as comments to this blog! Please note that all the seats are removed. The floor is sloped. The stage has little depth, so using it as a performance stage is limited. And oh yeah, putting the seats back in, selling popcorn, and showing first-run movies is not an option! We have already spoken to several theater operators and one-screen theaters are considered obsolete dinosaurs. No one that can get access to first-run movies is interested in having the opportunity to show "I am Legend" at the LaSalle Theater tonight.

So, be creative! Actually, be really creative! We need a really good idea or that theater will continue to stay dark when it has the potential to be a real anchor for the street.


Anonymous said...

The floor is a problem no matter what, unless you plan on doing major interior renovaitons and splitting it into a multiscreen arthouse. The best thing I can think of is using it as a caberet/restaurant, where people can come eat dinner and watch old movies or something. Either that or art gallery.

BAGLADY said...

skate board venue
swimming pool
Euclid Beach Park exhibit/museum

Redbeard said...

first-run theater ... no. BUT, perhaps a revival theater that shows OLD movies, foreign films, and has special theme film festivals might work. Yes, there's no parking lot. However, there are still theaters in the area that do not have a lot of parking, but they still manage. Look at the Capital Theater on West 65th that currently is under renovation to be a theater like the Cedar-Lee ... not a lot of parking there, but it should still succeed. But there is no theater in town that plays old movies, classics, kids' films, and other family activities. Innovative programming could really bring in people. Put in seats, but not so many as before, and put more space between them ... serve food, full meals, and let people eat while watching the movie. Have film series based on musicals, black-and-white films, classic comedies from the 1980s (how about a John Belushi film festival? Or the teen comedies of John Hughes? That'd attract people). Play cartoons and kids' movies on saturday mornings. A good example to look at is the Music Box Theater in Chicago ... they have NO parking, other than on-street parking, but the place is jammed, and is located in a similar neighborhood to East 185th with a high density of homes, apartments, stores, taverns, and restaurants nearby. Remember, no other theater in town or in any of the 'burbs is doing anything with old movies, so it could be a complete new market for success.

Anonymous said...

I'm with redbeard. This town has had no venue for old-time movies since the Mayfield Repertory Cinema -- and that's been gone since 1986.

classiclady said...

What alot of areas are missing is a dance hall.... and I'm not talking about a club either... I mean something like they back in the early 1900's. A place where people can dress up and go dance to music played by an old time band. Let it be either swing, jitterbug, or other great classics. The building can keep it's historic look, a few moderations to the stage and floor shouldn't be to much of a problem. Think of how much fun it would be to put on a nice old time looking dress or tux found at a thrift store or from your grandparents closet, and going out and dancing the night away with your friends and family. I've been to something like this a few years ago when I was in college and my friends and I had the most amazing time. WE wish there were more places like this.

scenester said...

I agree with redbeard. Is there a liquor license? It'd be great to model it after "the Vic" in Chicago. The Vic plays older films and has cheap beer and food. It draws crowds based on whatever it's showing, everything from college kids to older film buffs. Are there any abandoned buildings that could be torn down to create parking space? (I'm new to the neighborhood so I'm not familiar with what's around.)

Anonymous said...

About a week before it went up Pastor Scott Mccrary of Ecclesia Fellowship Church was scheduled to sign a long term lease for the theater portion to put a church in along with house programs for those in the community. His heart was to renovate and eventually buy it. However Counselman Polinsick contacted us and let us know we were wbout to get into a deal the owners could not keep. If you are interested in allowing this to happen please contact the church at

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I say jazz venue, jazz venue, jazz venue.

Such an attractive facility (after upgrades) will always have an attraction for multiple uses if the space is properly managed as a multi-use facility. Reserving Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights for live jazz performances in the Style of "HR 57: in Washington, DC
would bring life to the area. Jazz flourishes where space is provided, and such a facility might jump start jazz awareness and a new dimension for the cultural identity of the neightborhood.

Would the local music promoters in Cleveland be interested in setting up a lease agreement that allows them to program the space with regional jazz performers, or perhaps partner with the Tri-C music program? Rehersal, recital and performance space would allow for a flow of users. If the floor is levelled, it could also be used for as a small conference venue, wedding reception space, a space for craft fairs, film series, lectures etc, and perhaps as short term flexible office space/meeting space for local businesses.

Idf there is no liquor licence, a BYOB wine policy with a "corkage fee" could be an appropriate workaround. That is the method used at HR 57.

Best of luck,
ExPat Clevo Guy

KZ said...

I agree with classiclady, I think a swing club would be fantastic! Check out - there is a need and desire for it in this area. The facility could include an instructional studio and then obviously hold the live dances every weekend or whatever days the other places aren't having events. One of the storefronts could sell dancing shoes, clothing, rockabilly-wear, etc... I think parking could be worked out with the other businesses in the area - especially the Arabica directly across the street who would certainly welcome the additional business. Maybe as far as money is concerned, the Beachland Ballroom might be willing to work on some sort of co-ownership deal, like a spin-off of themselves.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere that they want to put a bookstore in the LaSalle space. Bad idea.

I'm down with a "revial" theater idea, and I'd definately go, often!

Also, another idea - why not have a stand-up comedy venue? Or at least do that once a week or something. Just do an open mic and wait for your performers to line up!

- Buapo004

Jon said...

Stand up comedy won't work. They tried it at the old Centrum Theater in the Coventry neighborhood of Cleveland Hts. and it failed miserably. The bookstore idea sounds boring, but I guess anything is better than a boarded-up building.

Anonymous said...

Yes does anything know if it is being used for anything I try rent it out to do s wrestling show a few years back and the owner told me 20k that was way to high for me looking to a mermory show for my mom in nov she love wrestling and she pass on in nov of 08 so if anyone can help me let me know thanks