Movement at Last at Former Theater at 6th & Poplar?

The intersection of 6th & Poplar is a study in contrasts. The northwest corner is home to a row of homes that were built a few years ago, one of which recently traded for $760K. The southern section of the intersection is the northern edge of the Liberty Place Town Homes development, an affordable housing project that was constructed in the early 1960s and has architectural stylings that say as much. And then, on the northeast corner, there’s a large warehouse that was originally built as a theater, though you wouldn’t necessarily think so by looking at it.

High end homes to the west
Affordable housing development to the south
View on 6th Street

The Poplar Theatre was constructed in 1916, with a seating capacity of over 850. According to a commenter from Hidden City, the theatre closed down in 1935 and reopened a few years later, only to close for good a few years later. In the early 1960s, Pearl Pressman Liberty Printers converted the building into a bindery and warehouse, though the building maintained some of its interior details. Those original details were lost in 2012, when new owners renovated the building in an effort to find a commercial tenant. Instead, they ended up selling the property to Masada Custom Builders. Those developers came forward in 2013 with a plan to demolish the old theater and build a 40 unit building in its place. But as you can see in the image above and the photos below, the building is very much still standing and no apartment building has appeared.

View on Poplar St.
Newer homes to the east

Though the project first came before the community in late 2013, it wasn’t until almost two years later that the developers finally got approval from the ZBA. While there’s been no apparent activity at the site, there has been some permitting action, as the developers have made some minor administrative modifications to their plan. And while we don’t see a demolition permit just yet, we do see that a plumbing permit was issued at the end of last month to seal the lateral in the street. This is typically a precursor to a demolition permit, so we’re guessing that the building should be coming down in the not too distant future. After the demolition, figure construction will quickly follow, as the project has lagged for long enough.

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