The Des Moines Theater – bought and soon to be renovated by Artist/Developer Dan Spalding and Jeff Angell – will be holding an Open House on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, starting at 2 p.m.

This will be an opportunity to learn about this ambitious project to bring the historic theater back to life.

Demolition work has begun, and developers anticipate beginning site preparation and foundation work later this year.

“Recognizing the historic and sentimental value of the building, the existing structure will be refurbished, and square footage will be increased with the addition of two additional stories,” City Manager Michael Matthias told The Waterland Blog. “When complete, the project will contain a theatre and retail space, as well as residential units on the upper floors with views to Puget Sound.”

The theater space will be accessible to the community for use as a live music, performance hall and movie venue. A commercial kitchen will be available to provide food and beverages to patrons. The design of the building blends historic with modern elements to fit with and enliven the surrounding Marina District neighborhood, creating an attractive destination for residents and visitors.Additional details related to the open house will be available prior to the date of the event.

Spalding told us in 2015 that he is planning on turning the historic building into “a mixed use complex consisting of retail and residential space with other possibilities for the theater space.” which you can see evidence of in design renderings below:

He bought the building – built in 1947 and containing 10,572 square feet of space – for $430,000, and construction is set to begin this Fall.

According to the Des Moines Historical Society:

The Des Moines Cinema building was opened in March 1947 by Delbert and Wally Osterhoudt to house a 400 seat cinema, retail stores, and office spaces. Wally Osterhoudt served on the Des Moines City Council and was mayor from 1964-69. On the second floor Dr. Frank Underhill and Dr. Youker had offices. The building also housed Dee’s Mart, and the Des Moines Drugstore for awhile in the Northeast corner. The cinema over the years has changed hands and had been closed entirely. In 1973 the Theater was sold and changed from running family oriented films to showing “adult” movies. Local groups picketed the theater in the 1970s, and in the 1980s the city even took legal action. In the 1990s the theater reopened under new management and reverted to showing family oriented films…

Read our previous coverage of Spalding and his new project here.

The Des Moines Theater is located at 22325 Marine View Drive:

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9 replies on “Des Moines Theater holding Open House on Saturday, Aug. 26”

  1. I confess, my ideal has always been for the theater to be the anchor of a -comprehensive- and -integrated- downtown plan–rather than simply redeveloping that parcel on its own.
    But if this works (and I definitely want it to work!), let’s hope it’s the first big step in that direction.
    I will definitely be at the open house.

  2. Most definitely will be there! I’m very excited about this project. Let’s brings our city to life❤️

  3. I hope this renovation will be a positive thing for the community. And I hope they plan on keeping the historic sign! I don’t see it in the renderings. It would be a shame to lose the historic quality…

  4. I agree with JC Harris, the city need a comprehensive, integrated plan for the downtown area, and hopefully this will be the start. Maybe take this whole block and give it a unified look, and get merchants in those other vacant properties. Look at Edmonds to see what can be done. They hold their Farmers Market just off the main drag downtown, and people pass by the various shops on the way to the market. Maybe moving the Saturday market to 7th Ave would be a way to draw more people to the downtown merchants? A little city provided parking in the area would help too.

  5. I’m missing what is historic in the photos other than the signage??
    Hopefully there will be a place to still show films as that would be fantastic! Maybe along the lines of what Seattle’s Central Cinema has done. They have a great schedule of movies, sing-a-long with the movies and other upbeat events that would be attractive to almost anyone, in my opinion.

    1. The way that the little box office looks, with the entry set back into the lobby, is what also has a historical feel. It may not be preservable, but perhaps could be “reimagineered” to reflect the “small-town from the 1930s and 40s” look and feel that will inevitably be lost as things scale up with growth. That’s part of the charm of going to an old vintage theater (not a lot of them left).

  6. Tear down this eyesore and let the developers start over. Build a nice mixed use development with business on the ground floor and five floors of nice condos above it.

  7. I am excited that something new is being planned for downtown Des Moines! We have some great restaurants and . . . not much else. We have almost as many closed up shops as open ones. Residents even have to go out of town just for our daily groceries!
    This is a chance for a new beginning. The city government HAS produced some very grand and interesting plans for downtown Des Moines in the recent past. Most of us have never seen them or heard about them though. MAYBE . . . this will be the time for those and other plans to come out of hiding! They may require some tweaking, but I think we’re ready to at least SEE them. The huge business development up near Highway 99 is great. But there won’t be much there for the general public of Des Moines to enjoy. Hopefully though, it will bring enough money into Des Moines that we can finally work on the downtown corridor. Paid parking is helping us pay for many necessary Marina projects. That’s great! Now let’s look to the downtown corridor. It should be more than just a throughway for non residents to and from their work.

    1. I do miss the smaller QFC that used to be by the park/entryway to old town. Safeway is just up the hill but not walkable for some the folks in the neighborhood. Don’t know why they left, except maybe it was during the economic downturn, wasn’t generating enough revenue, or the rent was high (or all of the above.) It would be nice to have a larger local supermarket. Or Trader Joe’s!
      I love the feel of all the smaller mom-and-pop restaurants available in Des Moines, I’ve heard tourists call it “quaint” and that’s a good thing that is disappearing. It feels like a beach town, just blocks from Highway 99 and larger neighborhoods.

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