Now $1.9 Million Buys Your Good-Forever Ticket to the Heights Theater, Whatever It’s Showing



The asking price for the Heights Theater on bustling 19th St. in Houston Heights in today’s live-or-work listing is $1.9 million. The owners last toe-tested the reel deal in 2008, at $1.3 million. In the interim, surrounding neighborhoods have tipped even more hip. Though the future of the historic (but not protected) property is up for grabs, its past scrolls like an old film roll, with scenes of early prosperity, seedy decline, suspected arson, and restoration.

The exterior’s revamp earned the current owners a Good Brick Award 20-ish years ago. The interior, a shell space since its near destruction by fire in 1969, has been used for live theater, retail, events, and galleries. In the former lobby’s crossroads sits an original projector (top), a sculpture standing as both a testament and witness to passing eras.



Accounts of the theater’s origins describe how it rose on the former site of the Heights Hotel, which burned down in 1919. It’s believed to be the oldest movie theater on its original site in Houston. The 1925 exterior featured mission-style flourishes (above); its house initially held 750 movie buffs. In 1935, an art moderne renovation of the facade also expanded the seat count, to 900, and introduced some of that era’s new-fangled air-conditioning.


In 1969, a suspected protest torching of its screening of the X-rated I Am Curious (Yellow), the theater was mostly destroyed, leaving only the shell. In 1982, its then-owner began the exterior’s reboot. The property’s redemption from near demise continued at the hands of current owners: artist Sharon Kopriva and husband Gus Kopriva, who owns the Redbud Gallery on 11th St.


Behind the doubled doors of the double-wide entry, the floor plan is mostly an open room, currently occupied by tenant Gallery M Squared.


Dividers suggest “rooms” flanking the lobby:



There’s a step-up stage deeper into the space:



The 7,058-sq.-ft. building sits on a 6,600-sq.-ft. lot. In its current listing, the room count suggests a kitchen, 2 bedrooms, a full and half-bath — and a mighty high ceiling. A floor plan of the events venue appears on the Gallery M Squared website.

Film House for Sale

14 Comment

  • This is potentially terrifying. This building and its sign is a Heights landmark.

  • This could be one awesome MattressFirm!

  • The Koprivas have done so much for art in the Heights. I really hope someone steps up and continues what they were doing at the Heights theater.

  • We just had a party in this space and it was awesomely fun and groovy. I am disappointed to hear the Koprivas want to sell and I hope there’s an investor who will keep it going as a party venue.

  • Please don’t let Tillman Fertitta buy this.

  • Tear it down and build “The Reserve at 19th”. 8 condos with a center drive.

  • The new owner should do the unthinkable and turn it back into a movie theatre.

  • Our idiotic parking ordinance will probably prevent this from becoming a movie theater again, or from being converted to anything that requires more than the 3 spaces per 1000 s.f. an art gallery requires, which is pretty much everything.

    The building itself will probably be preserved, since they’d lose a lot of footprint if current setback requirements were to apply. Barring a parking waiver, residential probably makes the most sense.

  • Echoing what others said – Landmark Theaters should buy this and revert it to a movie theater like their River Oaks Theater. It’d be an awesome anchor/centerpiece for 19th St.

  • @J

    Sarcasm is hard to detect over the internet, but I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt.
    Damn it.

  • Hi Brian, yes it’s sarcasm. My Dad has great stories about walking from his house in the 800 block of Waverly to see Gene Autry movies among others during the Summer. That was the only place to get AC back then.

  • This was a playhouse in the late 90’s early 00’s. I remember seeing a wonderful play about Bette Davis and a little Boy.

  • … A movie house with a ‘party bus’ from a park & ride lot! Transportation included in the price of ticket.

  • At 271$ per sq ft of living space in the Heights that place is a steal! Seriusly though that would be an interesting house if someone wanted to do it.