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PARADISE theatre of West Allis, WI is sold and to be restored

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  • jimor2
    The eagle eyes of Joe Zollner of THSA spotted an 8-1/2-inch display ad in a local shopper newspaper which he kindly shares with us and which was titled:
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 7, 2004
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      The eagle eyes of Joe Zollner of THSA spotted an 8-1/2-inch display ad
      in a local 'shopper' newspaper which he kindly shares with us and
      which was titled: "ANOUNCING THE RESURRECTION OF A WEST ALLIS
      LANDMARK". It states in part, regarding the former PARADISE theatre
      building: the building will be known as "The Paradise Family Life
      Center"; "The theatre will be renovated and restored to its original
      elegance and will be used for a variety of presentations …." "We
      anticipate that … the Center… will be open and available to
      the public sometime in early 2005." Strangely, no name of the new
      owner is given, but it is made clear that it will be a religious
      operation.

      A long conversation with Dan Baldwin, the man who headed the group
      that bought the 1929 movie palace in 2000 from recent Greek immigrant
      land developer, Peter Agnos, revealed that his group of three
      investors, Creative Community Solutions LLC, had sold the theatre and
      surrounding commercial and office bldg. to Ziklag Global Investments
      Corp. LLC, a division of Ziklag Ministries, Inc., a not-for-profit.
      Baldwin had wanted to expand his psychological counseling company, but
      the events surrounding 9-11-01, about a year after they purchased the
      building, proved so depressing to the business market in the following
      years, that loan funds dried up, as did a lot of business. Within a
      year after, he had divorced, and one of his partners withdrew for
      larger offices, causing more disruptions in his plans for the
      building. Parking for their patients was also a problem with little
      children then having to cross busy Greenfield avenue from the only lot
      available. So, by Nov. 1st last, they were able to conclude the sale
      after a year of negotiations with this nationwide religious foundation
      for a sale price of $400,000, about $50,000 more than they paid for
      it. In a way, it was the end of a dream for Dan, but he pledges to
      remain in the area after relocating his offices from above the
      storefronts, and will still be somewhat active behind the scenes as a
      consultant to the new operators.

      In the intervening years, the city inaugurated a new Tax Incremental
      Financing program, and so now funds became available to help
      properties along Greenfield avenue, the main street of the older
      eastern half of West Allis, and this helped pave the way for a
      reasonable plan for the 1300-seat theatre which last showed films in
      1995. New operations are to be under the direction of pastor Tom
      Redlich who is to oversee the 'restoration' of the building. Dan
      Baldwin states that they plan to remove some plaster ornament from
      under the balcony to place upon water damaged areas near the
      proscenium, so it appears that they will be more interested in an
      economical approach to 'restoration' than recreating all the missing
      elements as seen in 1929 photos now at Theatre Historical Soc., copies
      of which Dan Baldwin has turned over to the new owners. The history of
      the PARADISE is at: http://cinematreasures.org/theater/2927/ The new
      owner plans to turn the curved point of the building at the junction
      of "Six Points" into a Christian coffee shop with a staircase up to a
      new conference center and a passage will be cut through the lobby wall
      of the theatre to access the enlarged corner restaurant/coffee shop. A
      "Christian" book store will occupy the store fronts to the west of the
      theatre entry. The auditorium will be used only for things which a
      child should be allowed to see, as is stated in the Announcement. We
      hope the new owners will be able to return the gloss to this modest
      palace designed by Urban F. Peacock, who as part of the firm Peacock &
      Frank, designed several Midwestern movie palaces.
      Jim Rankin, Milwaukee
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