New life for a neighborhood theater

"New History has been instrumental in making the Hollywood Theater project happen. They’ve worked with me and the City, neighborhood, state, National Park Service, and project team to phase a challenging historic rehab in an iconic theater building that’s been dark for 30 years. This project would not have happened without them."

- Andrew Volna, Apiary

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phase 1 architect

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phase 2 architect

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two people walking dogs under the Hollywood Theater marquee during winter in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2020
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color photo of the front of the Hollywood Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota taken in 2021
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Minneapolis, MN



Project planning and management, historic tax credit certification, historical research, National Register nomination, grant funding, construction oversight, city zoning and preservation approvals

10,000 sq. ft.

Neighborhood movie theaters are challenging to reuse. After over 40 years of vacancy, the lights are back on at the Hollywood.


Redevelopment of the Hollywood Theater is a challenge similar to that which plagues many Main Streets and commercial nodes throughout the country: the neighborhood movie theater stands empty with the lights off and without a viable reuse. In the case of the Hollywood, the City of Minneapolis acquired the local landmark in 1989 to prevent demolition. Despite issuing multiple requests for proposals (RFPs) for redevelopment, no viable options for reuse were identified. The lack of potential funding sources, community support, and compatible uses presented too many risks for any private, or public, redevelopment. The building has been vacant and dark since 1987.



New History worked with a private developer and the City of Minneapolis to implement a strategy for redevelopment by bringing financial resources, building community support, and developing design solutions. By adding the building to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), New History brought the opportunity for tax-advantaged rehabilitation and other significant grant sources. Likewise, earlier redevelopment proposals met with substantial resistance from the neighborhood and elected city officials. New History worked with the developer and the City to engage the neighborhood, as well as city staff and elected officials, so that support for the project could be fostered. Finally, the spatial configuration of a theater, combined with the lack of windows, makes an economically viable reuse nearly impossible. A phased project was developed so that the exterior could be stabilized and restored, while an event center reuse for the main auditorium.