Last Show Will Bring Down the House

Demolition kicks off more than $10 million in capital improvements

MINNEAPOLIS - The long-shuttered theater at Metropoint, The Center for Business will come to the ground today as crews demolish the 20,000-square-foot concrete building. The demolition marks the first phase of more than $10 million in capital improvements by an affiliate of BPG Properties, Ltd., which acquired the four-building, 918,500-square-foot business campus in August. While the theater will be no more than a memory, more than 2,400 tons of steel and concrete - approximately 75 percent of its total weight - will be salvaged and recycled for use in other projects around Minneapolis. The subsequently cleared site - adjacent to the 20-story Metropoint tower and the planned circle drive entrance - will be available for a 5,000- to 7,000-square-foot build-to-suit retail development. "The theater demolition sets in motion an exciting exterior renovation that will expand the connection to Ford Road by adding a circular driveway as well as creating a new central entrance," said Kelly Gibbel, senior asset manager at BPG. "These exterior changes will visually unite all current and future buildings and parking." The entire demolition will take approximately four weeks to complete. Crews first inspected the interior of the building and removed the video projection and sound equipment for reuse in other Minneapolis-area theaters. Crews then separated the theater from a pedestrian walkway and the attached parking garage using hand tools. A backhoe will raze the structure; construction materials will be separated and hauled away for recycling; and the site will be rough-graded in preparation for redevelopment. "Once the theater is removed, tenants and visitors will see a dramatic change in the landscape," said Wayne Anderson, president of Crawford Merz Anderson Construction, the general contractor implementing BPG's master plan. "Old signage has already been removed reinforcing a new name, a new look, with exceptional business and retail opportunities," added Gibbel. "This area is the first of many at Metropoint where new convenience retail is anticipated," said Aaron Barnard, retail specialist at Northstar Partners. "Other locations include the first floor of the Metropoint Tower as well as a 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot retail development planned for the southeast corner of Ford and Betty Crocker Road." BPG's planned improvements include elevator and HVAC upgrades, refurbished public spaces, improved tenant suites, significant new amenities including new fitness and conference centers, upgraded dining facilities, a broad range of convenience retail, as well as new landscaping and park signage. Metropoint occupies the northwest corner of the intersection of Interstate 394 and Highway 169 and is directly across from the world headquarters of General Mills Inc. in St. Louis Park, Minn. The property consists of four office buildings set on 20 acres. The complex includes a 20-story tower, one 10-story and two eight-story buildings, significant park land, and parking for more than 3,460 cars. Metropoint is currently 75 percent leased. Major tenants include Wells Fargo, Prudential Financial, Epicor, Allianz Life Insurance Company and Corporate Benefit Services of America.

About the theater

Opened in 1974 and operated by General Cinema Corp., Shelard Park Cinema 5 comprised five screens and 1,664 seats. At the time it was considered a "destination theater" because it was freestanding, while most other theaters were located within shopping malls. The theater closed in 2000, amid competition from new-generation theaters with digital surround sound, stadium seating and 12 or more screens.