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2010 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award Recipients

Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization, Westlake Reed Leskosky Architects, and Marous Brothers Construction for the preservation and rehabilitation of the 1921 Capitol Theatre at 1390 West 65th Street in Cleveland.

Built in 1921, the Gordon Square Arcade was the hub and the heart of the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood—billed as the Times Square of Cleveland. Over the years, the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood and Cleveland’s manufacturing base went through periods of economic change and decline, and the Arcade Building suffered to the point that the cornice crashed to the ground in 1979. Detroit Shoreway Community Development Organization purchased the Arcade that year to save it from demolition. The Capitol Theatre itself remained operable until the early 1980s, when severe water damage from a leaky roof forced its closure.

In 2008, Detroit Shoreway was able to assemble a creative package using both federal and state rehabilitation tax credits, New Market Tax Credits and numerous public and private grants and loans to finance the $7.5 million project so that the long-awaited theatre renovation could finally begin. The rehabilitation project involved all major systems from top to bottom, inside and out. In this project, as in many rehabs of historic buildings, a full understanding of existing conditions is not always possible until construction commences. The original drawings for the theater indicated a 4” concrete roof deck on riveted steel girder trusses. During the removal of the roof for replacement, concrete roof deck panels began to crumble and fall into the building—this was how the project team discovered that the concrete roof deck was simply laid into a channel and held in place by gravity and not fastened to the steel. The decision was quickly made to completely replace the entire concrete slab decking as quickly as possible. However, when the roof was replaced and the load was lightened, the roof trusses shifted and the interior plaster beneath it separated from its under-coat. It was painstakingly re-secured, saving the most visible historical feature of the theatre: the 34-foot plaster medallion.

Many other missing or damaged plaster details were replicated and a number of intact portions were collected and stored for use in future restoration of these features.

Through this renovation, the Capitol Theatre has been converted into a 420 seat main theatre on the ground floor and two 100-seat balcony theatres in the partitioned mezzanine level. The Capitol also features the first fully digital and 3-D projection system in the State of Ohio with enhanced acoustics equipment. Over the course of the project over 180 different tours of the Capitol Theatre were held to promote the project and its progress.

Restoring the Capitol Theatre to its former grandeur as a neighborhood icon and gathering place will help create a cultural center for Greater Cleveland. The Capitol was the first completed anchor project of the Gordon Square Arts District, a $30 million project leveraging over half a billion dollars in economic development.



2010 Awards 
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Click here to return to the list of 2010 Ohio Historic Preservation Office Award recipients.

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