Family Dollar Under Construction on Kensington Avenue

We were in East Kensington over the weekend, trying to snap some photos of new development, but road work diverted us onto Kensington Avenue. This ended up working out nicely, as we stumbled upon some new construction at 2459 Kensington Ave. that we previously knew nothing about. This large property had been owned by the City since 1990 and was set up as a basketball court, but the overgrown Google Street View images tell us that nobody was using it as such for the last several years. Developers bought it for $148K about a year ago.

Overgrown basketball court

This property looks rather different today, as it’s an active construction site. Check it out:

View from under the El
Sign advertising Family Dollar

We first didn’t quite know what to make of the construction, but then we spied the Family Dollar sign on the fence, and that immediately shed some light. While a new Family Dollar certainly isn’t the most exciting project in the world, it seems like an appropriate use for this location. Over a hundred years ago though, there was a very different vision for this address. According to Cinema Treasures, a theater was built here way back in 1890. It went through a series of renovations and a couple different names, settling on the Kent Theatre moniker in 1927. It operated through the 1960s and was demolished shortly before the City took possession of the property.

Image of the Kent, from Cinema Treasures

Unfortunately, we don’t think that the new Family Dollar will have any of the architectural flourishes that were apparent at the old Kent Theatre. Would it have been too much to ask for the architects to pay tribute to the history of the property by including a marquee on the Family Dollar? Yeah, probably. Sure would have been cool, though.