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» Cinematour Forum   » Cinemas in the News   » Paducah KY: Free cinemas to a good home

Author Topic: Paducah KY: Free cinemas to a good home
Darren Snow
New Member

Posts: 9
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted June 29, 2004 07:02 AM      Profile for Darren Snow   Email Darren Snow         Edit/Delete Post 
Well, it's not quite THAT simple, but the city of Paducah, KY, is fielding propositions for the two downtown theaters it owns, the c. 1911 Arcade and the c. 1927 Columbia. See

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Adam Martin

Posts: 1090
From: Dallas, TX
Registered: Feb 2003

 - posted June 29, 2004 10:43 AM      Profile for Adam Martin   Author's Homepage   Email Adam Martin         Edit/Delete Post 
The City of Paducah, Kentucky is soliciting proposals from any interested parties to renovate the historic Columbia and Arcade Theatre properties located in our historic downtown. The City is willing to transfer ownership, free of charge, to a developer that completes a successful proposal that is accepted by the Paducah City Commission. Return this building to its original grandeur....

The City of Paducah, Kentucky is soliciting proposals from any interested parties to renovate the historic Columbia and Arcade Theatre properties located in our historic downtown. Our intent is to have these properties restored to life as an integral part of the community and return its front façade(s) to its original grandeur. The City of Paducah is the current owner of these structures and is willing to transfer ownership, free of charge, to a developer that completes a successful proposal under these guidelines that is accepted by the Paducah City Commission.

This document serves as the guideline for submitting proposals to the selection committee. It outlines the history of the property, benefits that may be available, the existing condition of the structure, what the city and selection committee expects, the proposal process, and proposal requirements. New uses for the structure(s) will be considered. Proposals will be accepted for part or all of the structures. Any interested parties should contact Carol Gault, Director of Paducah Main Street at (270) 444-8649 with any questions about the proposal or project.

Paducah, KY
The City of Paducah, Kentucky sits at the Confluence of the Tennessee and Ohio Rivers. Traveling Interstate 24, Paducah is centrally located. Only 137 miles from Nashville, Tennessee or 176 miles from St. Louis, Missouri Paducah has much to offer. This quaint River town is host to over 400 businesses located in the eighty square blocks, commonly known as the Renaissance area. Although known for heritage tourism attractions such as historic homes and museums, cultural attractions abound. Art galleries, theatre productions and concerts generate over 800,000 motel participant days per year. Downtown antique shops offer items from the past while specialty shops favor the eclectic. Paducah is located in the heart of McCracken County with a city populous in 2000 of 26,307. However, Paducah serves as a regional draw for a seven county community with over 436,000 located with-in a fifty-mile radius. The map on the following page indicates the central location of Paducah in relation to Nashville, St. Louis, Louisville, Kentucky, and Memphis, Tennessee.

Columbia Arcade Theatre History
The Columbia Theater stands as a testament to America’s love for the movies and theatre in the 1920’s and 1930’s.

This movie palace was built by the Keiler family who owned several local theaters, including the Arcade Theater at the corner of Fifth and Broadway. Built in 1911, the Arcade was the first theater in Paducah built specifically for the motion pictures. It was located in the one-story Arcade building, which also housed shops that faced the open interior courtyard that led up to the theater’s entrance.

In 1927 Leo Keiler built the larger and grander Columbia Theater. This brick building has an elaborate façade composed of blue and white terra cotta tiles. This façade displays and eclectic assortment of architectural details, including spiraled Byzantine columns, classical urns, friezes and capitals, and busts of Greek goddesses. The original Columbia sign was 50 feet tall and was lit with 5,000 light bulbs.

The Columbia Theater opened on April 18, 1927, when 2,000 fortunate patrons had tickets to see Clara Bow starring in IT and hear Jack Adams on the Barton console organ. The theater was one of the first in America to feature “Vitaphone” sound. The Columbia and Arcade theaters were especially popular in the summer months where “air-cooled” systems kept patrons free from perspiration.

Paducah’s downtown movie theaters closed in the 1980’s and these buildings now await redevelopment for exciting new uses.

These buildings are located in the heart of downtown Paducah. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as contributing structures in the Paducah Downtown Commercial Historic District. They were placed on the National Register in 1978. The buildings themselves are surrounded by 1850-1900 architecture that has remained largely in tact. The one-story arcade building has most recently been used for shops and offices as well as a theatre.

Building Configuration
The buildings are currently subdivided into two buildings. The Arcade has been multiple uses including the theatre, offices, restaurants, offices, and retail stores. The Columbia has always been a theatre. The maps on the following three pages illustrate the proximity of the theatres to a few downtown attractions, the property layout of the block, and a generalized floor plan of the two buildings offered.

The Columbia Theatre building is approximately 12,540 square feet. The building has been vacant since the mid 1980’s. The first floor consists of a lobby and the lower theatre seating. The second floor includes a magnificent foyer open area and the upper balcony seating for the theatre. A large retractable moving screen reveals a generous stage for performances.

The Arcade Theatre building is approximately 19,250 square feet. Parts of this structure are currently being used as offices, a retail store, and a barbershop. The two theatres in this structure have also been vacant since the mid 1980’s. Roughly 25% of this structure is currently being utilized. This building is one story as shown on the floor plan with the exception of some balcony seating in the theatres. There are two theatre rooms in the Arcade building both of which have performance stages.

Available Benefits
The Paducah Enterprise Zone is a specific area of the city where both State and Local Governments have created special incentives to encourage new or expanded business activity. Any new business that may be willing to make a commitment in terms of capital investment and/or the creation of certain jobs within the zone may qualify for the benefits. For qualified new businesses the state will offer an exemption for the state sales tax (6%) on the purchase, lease, or rental of equipment and machinery; exemption form the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Usage Tax on vehicles; and provide a credit against the tax levied pursuant to KRS 141.040 equal to 10% of wages paid to each qualified employee. For qualified new businesses the city will offer to reduce the employee earnings tax by 50% for qualified employees for the first two years; not charge ad valorem taxes on personal property; grant a 50% reduction in real estate taxes; offer a free business license; waive building permit fees; and offer refuse collection at half cost for a period of five years. These benefits are scheduled to end on December 31, 2007 unless the program is extended by the state. For more information on the Enterprise Zone contact Nancy Upchurch at the Planning Department at (270) 444-8690.

Historic Tax Credits
The Tax Reform Act of 1986 provides a 20% federal investment tax credit for the rehabilitation of certified historic properties. In order to receive this tax credit, the property must be income-producing and the rehabilitation work must be certified by the National Park Service as being in conformance with the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

Upon completion of a state level review, the application is forwarded to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. It is the National Park Service's legal responsibility to certify or deny applicants for tax benefits.

Façade Loans
Paducah Main Street administers a façade loan program which allows successful applicants the opportunity to borrow money at a reduced interest rate to do repair or restoration work on the front façade. For more information, contact Paducah Main Street at (270) 444-8649.

Other Benefits
Other benefits may be available from the federal, state, city, or other local economic development entities. Any other benefits offered will be based solely on the use of the structure and may depend on a number of factors such as creation of jobs, tourism, employment of low-to-moderate income, unemployed, or other such program requirements.


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Dan Akers
New Member

Posts: 12
From: St. Louis, MO
Registered: Jan 2004

 - posted July 01, 2004 02:59 PM      Profile for Dan Akers   Email Dan Akers         Edit/Delete Post 
Out of the 2 of them, the Columbia would look like the one to do, but also the most work.

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