The man from Grand Rapids is renovating the historic former Four Star Theater, which is due to open in 2023

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GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – A man is in the process of renovating a historic former movie theater that has been vacant for over a decade and plans to open and operate the building as a venue sometime in 2023.

The Four Star Theater originally opened on South Division Avenue in November 1938. An article in News-Palladium said at the time of its opening: “The theater will have 900 seats, with all seats in the basement. The architecture, interior design and furniture are Swedish modern.”

Marcus Ringnalda began his journey with the building in 2015 when he toured it with another person who was considering converting it into a church. When that failed, he finally thought about buying it himself.

“And then two years later, in 2017, I bought this cool old building,” he told FOX 17 on Wednesday.

“There have been a lot of funny discoveries that say: Wow, it still works.”

In 2019, he founded the nonprofit Friends of Four Star 501.3c to help with the cleaning, renovation, and fundraising drives.

After being used as a movie house for several decades, the building became a music venue, night club and youth center.

Unsure what to do with the building first, Ringnalda decided to turn it into a venue.

“It started out as a mere real estate investment,” he said on Wednesday.

“This will really be built on partnerships. Even if there are children who are looking for something to do after school, pushing brooms and mops and running a vacuum cleaner. “

Through a program run by the Burton Heights Business Association and the city’s Corridor Improvement Authority, he was able to invite groups of students to help clean. All children receive $ 10 an hour through the collaborative program funded by 5/3 Bank.

“Meeting all of these people really got me the idea of ​​a venue that can be community-based,” said Ringnalda.

One of his most exciting discoveries so far inside the building?

“The marquee is still lit,” said Ringnalda on Wednesday.

“Although it is home to a few dozen pigeons that have nests and houses there, it still works.”

He is now raising funds to further advance the project and plans to open the space to the public sometime in 2023.

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