College HIll community group recently bought the old Hollywood Theatre for redevelopment.
By Randy Tucker
It’s showtime once again for the historic Hollywood Theatre in College Hill.
A neighborhood group recently purchased the theater and five other buildings as part of an ongoing effort to revitalize the neighborhood’s mid-business district stretching along Hamilton Avenue from Llanfair Avenue north to West North Bend Road.
The College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corp. (CHCURC) bought the buildings and seven parcels of land from The House of Joy Christian Ministries, which plans to relocate closer to Downtown at 3220 Central Parkway.
CHCURC, which has been scooping up properties in College Hill for at least the past four years, doesn’t have immediate redevelopment plans for the newly acquired properties, according to CHCURC President Michael Cappel.
But the group hopes to eventually restore the theater to its former glory as the centerpiece of a once-vibrant business district in the 1930s and 1940s.
“The whole goal is to preserve and revitalize our historic buildings, and one of the key buildings in the area is the old Hollywood Theatre,” Cappel said.
The single-screen theater opened in 1925 and was later remodeled in 1948.
The building, now used as the main building for House of Joy church services, hearkens back to a time when people would go out for dinner and a movie and then treat themselves to Graeter’s ice cream across the street from the theater, Cappel said.
The business district began to decline in the 1970s, and today many of the historic buildings are vacant or in disrepair.
CHCURC has slowly but surely brought many of the stately buildings back to life, re-purposing them as retail and residential mixed-use properties, surrounded by bars and restaurants, even a brewery.
The Brink Brewing Co., for example, opened in the business district about a year ago in a building adjacent to the Dow Corner Building at 5901 Hamilton Ave.
The brewery has already had spillover effects on long-established businesses in the area, including Bacalls Cafe a few blocks north at 6118 Hamilton Ave.
“With Brink opening down the street that’s kind of paving the way for a lot of new businesses to come and bring in some new life,” said Alex Nesbitt, Bacalls’ General Manager.
Nesbitt said Bacalls’ has already seen increased foot traffic from the brewery, which currently doesn’t serve food but hires food trucks for special events and also orders catering from Bacalls.
Brink Brewing is soon to be joined by Kiki Japanese bar and restaurant in the former National City Building on Hamilton Avenue, and Tortilleria Garcia Mexican restaurant, according to CHCURC’s Cappel.
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