It looks like the former Alabama Theater — known since the early eighties as the Alabama Bookstop, and since last fall as that big vacant space for lease in Weingarten Realty’s Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center — is about to be gutted. A local construction company is currently taking bids from subcontractors for a rather complete interior demolition. The plans, prepared by Heights Venture Architects, show major alterations to the floor, walls, and ceilings.
The theater’s original sloped floor will be buried under a new concrete slab; wood floors inserted during the 1983 bookstore conversion will be removed. For now, the balcony will remain.
Here’s a little before and after to demonstrate:
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A building section view, before the demo:
The demo view shows a new flat floor at stage level, and a stripped ceiling:
The bid documents refer to a Staples, and drawings for a prototype Staples store are included with the interior demolition plans.
Did Staples executives ask Weingarten to gut the theater before they’ll move in? Or is Weingarten just hoping that the office-supply retailer will become interested in the space once it’s rid of all those fussy Art Deco details and murals?
The bid documents don’t show any plans for the theater’s exterior.
Update: See Swamplot’s latest coverage of the Alabama Theater.
- Alabama Shepherd Shopping Center [Weingarten]
- Previously on Swamplot: Alabama Bookstop Theater: The Balcony Is Closed for This Performance, Alabama Bookstop Stop Date: September 15th, When Will the Alabama Bookstop Stop?, and How To Demolish Houston Landmarks