Des Moines' Ingersoll Dinner Theater building gets new life following sale
The Ingersoll Dinner Theater is getting new life, thanks to a local developer who has purchased the property.
Why it matters: For nearly a decade, the historic theater has sat empty and become increasingly dilapidated.
- Connor Delaney, the building's new owner, plans on restoring the structure for a potential tenant, while retaining its 1930s theater facade and nostalgia, he told Axios.
Driving the news: Delaney recently purchased the property from Lee Family Properties after eyeing it for years.
- The building holds nostalgic value for Delaney, who used to frequent the theater with his grandmother and watch "Peter Pan" and "The Velveteen Rabbit."
- He already revitalized the neighboring building that houses Bartender's Handshake and Loyal Sons.
State of play: The first phase of construction involves "stabilizing" the building, including constructing a new roof, improving the interior so it's up to code and digging further into the nooks and crannies of the structure.
- Plans include remodeling the front of the building so it resembles its appearance back in 1939 when the theater first opened. A stone facade is covering the original exterior, which they plan to tear down, Delaney said.
- While there aren't any specific plans yet for the interior or for a tenant, Delaney said he expects it to be a flexible venue that can accommodate concerts and weddings.
- Construction is expected to finish in a year.
Of note: Lee Family Enterprise, who sold the building to Delaney, still maintains ownership of Manhatten Deli and Greenwood Lounge, which are attached.
The big picture: Redeveloping the theater adds to the long-term plans to improve The Avenues along Ingersoll and Grand Avenue and make it a unique stop in the metro.
- "It's not just a theater — it's the Ingersoll Dinner Theater," said Lauren Kollauf, executive director of The Avenues. "It's historic, it's iconic. People are interested in it and they want to see it preserved and restored."
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