Reviving a 20th Century White Elephant for a 21st Century Community Meeting Place
The Alexandria Theater was built in 1923 in the Egyptian Revival style and was later "Art Deco-ized" in 1942 showed first-run movies in grand space until it closed in 2004. As part of a complicated mixed use project that includes the Alexandria Residences, a new 43-unit residential building constructed on the theater's parking lot, the theater building is being resurrected into a new community attraction. The revived building will include a swim center with two pools on the ground floor, classrooms for after-school programs and community evening use on a new mezzanine level and a retail co-working space on a new 3rd floor.
To protect and retain the historic fabric of the theater including large murals with aquatic imagery on the side walls, plaster cast plaques and the Art Deco proscenium arch, the project is essentially building a new building within the shell of the old building. The 1942 marquee and blade sign are being restored and will feature new neon lighting and the entire exterior of the building with its Egyptian ornament will be refurbished. On the interior, the grand staircase and its bronze floral hand rail, emerald bejeweled (just glass baubles) water fountain and Art Deco stepped ceiling in the lobby will greet all who will use the building. When finished, the building will be transformed from community blight into a well-used community asset.