In our culture of “bigger, better, newer, faster,” historic theaters may well be one of America’s most endangered buildings.
There are at least 160 of these beauties in the Lone Star State, once the center of a city’s entertainment district. But now these Arcadias, Palaces, Majestics, Paramounts, and Pioneers often sit in states of disrepair.
Some municipalities or private groups have stepped up and renovated these architectural treasures, like the Pines Theater in Lufkin, the Historic Texas Theatre in Oak Cliff, and the Crighton Theatre in Conroe.
But all too often, these buildings are demolished to make way for new development that looks flashier and brings in more rent per square foot.
In Odessa, the Ector Theatre is at the center of just such a situation now, with a proposal to make it part of a new downtown hotel and convention center, a $73 million project. Dallas-based Gatehouse Capital, a real estate investment company, made the proposal for development of the area that would include retaining the historic Ector image, but details are sparse.
The Odessa City Council approved a 90-day, $192,000 study on Jan. 13 by Gatehouse and third-party companies to examine the options for the theater, and nothing is off the table yet. Jump to read more!