Few neglected buildings in South St. Louis have received more attention than the former Avalon Movie Theater at 4225 Kingshighway Boulevard. Opened in 1935 and closed in 1999, this 1000-seat movie theater has been home only to pigeons and decay since. Nestled on the northeast edge of the South Hampton neighborhood, many an urbanite and developer has dreamed of redoing the facility. And some may actually have been able to do it, if not for the stubborn owner who has had an over-inflated sense of it’s worth for years. Unfortunately, we will never know now because by the time you read this, the Avalon will have been torn down.
The property was actually listed on the St. Louis MLS for $1 million for the better part of the last two years. While the structure appeared to be in adequate shape, there is no doubt that price was too high considering the top-to-bottom renovation the 8,500 square foot building needed. The property was relisted at a much more marketable $249,900 in September 2011. But a buyer was not found and the owner sought a permit for demolition. Surprisingly, without any review from the Preservation Board the building was demolished this week.
The number of hurdles facing any developer taking on this project would have been massive, but given the proper the chance, the project should have been doable. We will never know now. Instead, we will most likely either see a parking lot or an ugly modern infill-project. Goodbye Avalon, you will be missed. For more on the history or the Avalon, check out the theater’s profile on CinemaTour. Take a look at the picture gallery below for a closer look at the last days of the theater.