Distinctive Art Deco Former Movie Theatre in Playhouse District Sold for $5.3 Million

Published : Monday, October 22, 2018 | 5:23 AM

Local developer Morton Development Group has bought the iconic Artistry Theater Building in the Pasadena Playhouse District for $5.3 million and plans to redevelop the property to attract a dynamic group of quality tenants ranging from fitness, luxury home goods, office users and restaurants.

The building is at 600 E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. The property sits immediately east of the Urth Caffé building.

The Artistry Theater Building was built in 1931 as a United Artists theater. It was a popular “preview house” that would show early-cut screenings of films for feedback from the public. Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock had screened their classics there in the early 1940s; Hitchcock had even gone so far as to reshoot the ending to “Suspicion” due to the audience response.

Andrew Berk, a South Pasadena resident who is a Principal at Avison Young, said he and Associate Chase Gordon represented the seller, Colorado Creative LLC.

“We’re thrilled to help fill a gap in Pasadena’s exceptionally dynamic retail main corridor,” Berk said in a statement. “The historic marquee property has irreplaceable ‘bones’ and such incredible unique space inside. With this sale, we’re excited to view the next great blockbuster here and know it will be an unbelievable tribute and gift to the architectural fabric of the theatre and Colorado Boulevard.”

Berk said they focused on “just the right buyer,” Morton Development, who not only “appreciated the next-generation opportunities for the bow-truss and vaulted building, but also had the experience and development knowledge to navigate the heavy permitting and construction requirements.”

“We’re pleased to be a part of the process in helping this iconic property get to its proper highest-and-best use within one of Pasadena’s prime retail destinations,” Gordon said. “The City of Pasadena, known worldwide as a retail and historic revitalization classic case study, has such a rich and important history and bringing this irreplaceable asset back into the urban fabric is significant to the community and all who visit here.”

The two-story theater building is about 15,061 gross square feet that sits on 10,241 square feet of land. It is located in an exceptionally strong submarket where core assets of the theater’s quality and age rarely go on the market. The building was renovated about twice since the 60s.

Its last tenant was Angels School Supply which vacated the building about three years ago.

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