GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids-based Orion Construction began preserving on Monday the historic Uptown Church building in Eastown.
Orion will be repairing the front façade of the building, which had fallen off due to deterioration and age, according to a news release.
Built in 1936 as the Eastown Theatre, the building was the first air-conditioned movie theater in Grand Rapids with a seating capacity of up to 1,000 people.
Designed by Grand Rapids architect Harry L. Colton and operated by B&J Theatres, it opened Nov. 19, 1936 with its first feature film, “My American Wife.”
After the original Eastown Theatre closed in the 1970s, it became the Bijou Theater in the early 1980s, showing independent and foreign films.
In 1987, the theater became a 50s- and 60s-themed nightclub called Shout.
Uptown Church, “where everyone is welcome,” occupied the building space in June 1992.
Founded by Pastor Bill and Joan Trim, Uptown Church offers services in English, Spanish and Swahili.