If any ghosts of Alabama Theater moviegoers were still intent on haunting the spaces once occupied by their old seats, they’d be buried in sand by now. A Swamplot reader and theater buff shows us the current state of the building’s innards — as seen yesterday from strategic views through the front and rear glass doors. On its way to a new level and Trader Joe’s-worthy surface, the auditorium’s basement and raked floor have been transformed into what now appears to be the city’s largest indoor sandbox. (From the photos, it looks like only a single motorized sand toy gets to play in it, though.)
A new, permanent concrete floor ordered by the owners of the landmarked 1939 Art Deco building, Weingarten Realty, will replace the removable raised-floor system put in place in the early 1980s, when the theater at 2922 S. Shepherd Dr. was transformed into the Alabama Bookstop bookstore.
“At present, it does not appear that any damage has been done to the walls or the mural above the rear exit door to the auditorium,” reports the photographer. Here’s a longer version of the same view, taken from the front door and looking through the theater lobby:
And looking back into the auditorium space, from the back door:
- Previously on Swamplot: Did Weingarten Realty Just Bury the 1939 Art Deco Interior of the Alabama Theater in Concrete?
- Alabama Theater coverage [Swamplot]
Photos: Swamplot inbox (interior); Jim Parsons/GHPA (exterior)
This is crazy! Wonder how it will look when it’s done. Hopefully, this article will still have some validity.
I’m certainly no structural engineer so I’m curious, is it possible the sand is being added to level, then the new slab will be poured on top of that and at some point in the future the whole thing can be removed, restoring the original steps and making the space usable as a theater? I know the article said “permanent”, but could that mean mostly-sorta-permanent?
I suspect that the answer is that for infill, dirt is way cheaper than concrete and is not significantly less stable, especially if it’s on top of existing concrete. But I hope that Lucy’s interpretation is correct.
This will be great for the area and help with the city’s plan for high density development’s supporting infrastructure.
Ha! The city’s plan for high density development seems to be 6 shitty townhomes on every lot…
Are we sure this is going to happen? Why are there still broker signs on the marquee and why is the Alabama location not listed on the Trader Joe’s website while the Woodlands location is?
That just sucks. That was such a beautiful place.