100-Year-Old Sun Theatre To Be Renovated

Posted on: 5:17 pm, February 18, 2013, by , updated on: 05:27pm, February 18, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO. ( KTVI) – Tuesday’s gray skies won’t cast any clouds over Steve Smith’s vision for Grand Center.

‘The building has some wonderful architecture about it,’ says Steve Smith, CEO for The Lawrence Group.  ‘You’ll notice above the three arch windows we have masks,’ says Smith.

The old Sun Theater in Grand Center has seen its share of comedy and tragedy over the years.

‘The building is in an advance state of disrepair and a piece of the cornice fell off, literally fell on the sidewalk about a year ago and the insides falling,’ says Smith..  ‘For instance with the wind right now we’re liable to get hurt.’

Which is why we remained outside, but you’ll be able to go inside later this year thanks to Smith.

‘It’s been empty for 40 years,’ says Smith.  ‘It’s one of two last remaining un-renovated buildings in Grand Center.’

The sun set on this theater about 40 years ago.

But its history dates back almost 100 years ago when it opened as a German language theater.

‘Then at the outbreak of WWI, German language theater wasn’t very popular and it’s had a troubled history since then,’ says Smith.

Smith is the head of the Lawrence group, who will help oversee the 10 million dollar renovation.
When it re-opens it will hold 700 people and be used primarily by the Grand Center Arts Academy, a charter middle and high school that hasn’t had a theater to call home.

‘I get excited about rebuilding neighborhoods because St. Louis has a tradition of neighborhoods,’ says Smith.  ‘It’s great to feel there`s a purpose beyond just renovating a building and making a bigger impact.  And I’m thrilled it’s going to help these young people grow up and be as fulfilled young people as possible.’

Those are grand plans that can make for a bright future for many.