Cities all across the U.S. have shuttered and run-down theaters and dance halls that were built during the early part of the 20th century. Grand Rapids actually has a few as well. One long-forgotten theater on South Division may soon be getting a new lease on life.
Marcus Ringnalda, a commercial real estate developer has recently purchased the defunct 4-star Theater and hopes to transform the structure to be used once again as a theater, as well as a new home for many live performances.
The area of S. Division is still depressed, and the revitalization of the landmark theater may very well spark new life into the neighborhood.
Ringnalda is still in the process of seeking funding for the project. He hopes to bring people of like minds together on the project, those that are committed to taking part in the restoration of the theater.
Ringnalda recognized the theater’s potential while working on another project in the same are of Grand Rapids while working for Wolverine Building. The transaction was closed last week on the property located at 1950 S. Division.
The final price was $160,000. According to public records, the previous owner paid $190,000 for the property in 2013. $160,000 is a steal, mainly because the building’s brick and steel could be worth upwards of $1,000,000.
Ironically, the purchase price of $160,000 for the 11,300 sq ft structure is slightly more than it cost to build it almost 80 years ago. When built, the theater was a state of the art complex, featuring an Art Deco interior, “modern” sound reproduction, and included air conditioning, unusual for the 1930s.
The last use of the theater was in the 1980s and 90s when the property was used as a nightclub.
The site was originally called the 4 Star Theater, the 5th of its kind in Grand Rapids. At the time, the S. Division area was experiencing new industrial and residential development.
It was closed down during the turbulent 1960s.
If the renovation of the 4 Star Theater in the S. Division neighborhood proves to be a success, it could serve as an anchor to the area and encourage other developers to tackly the restoration of other nearby structures. All in all, the project is a positive one for the S. Division area, and for Grand Rapids in general.