The Royal Theatre, on the 1500 block of South Street, has been vacant for some time. It was built in the early twentieth century and had been popular with many of the famous jazz musicians from the 1920s to the 1960s. It had been vacant for so long, though, that it had become unusable as a theatre and beyond repair. Several developers had attempted to renovate it over the years, but now a development group and architects JKRP are following through on a plan to save the facade of the historic theatre and build apartments behind it. Demolition of the decaying theatre is currently underway.
The plan calls for a six story building with 57 rental units. The historic facade of the theatre would be renovated with large arched French doors. The first floor would have a large retail space that would be 4,500 square feet. The developers are negotiating with one undisclosed tenant to take that space. The historic facade would be framed by a larger modern facade which would extend to five stories. The modern facade would have gray panels and large, modern windows, with one story above the historic facade and extending onto either side of the historic facade. The sixth story would be set back from South Street, and the apartment entrance would be on the extension on the left side, with a modern glass canopy. There will, also, be seven modern townhouses behind the apartments on Kater Street. One of the townhomes would be a carriage house style. Each townhouse would have a garage and there would be 24 parking spaces in an underground garage, accessible from Kater Street, for the apartments. There will, also, be 24 bicycle parking spaces. The developers plan on putting a green roof on top.
The renovation of the Royal Theatre is an important milestone for South Street. It is the last large vacant property on South Street to be developed. South Street used to have several vacant lots and all of the larger ones, and most of the smaller ones, have now been developed. The redevelopment of the Royal Theatre not only removes the last bit of serious blight from the neighborhood, but it also provides more upscale housing and retail for that area.
By, Gabriel Gottlieb