The exact month we moved to Providence (August 2009), the Columbus Theatre on Broadway was ordered closed by city inspectors. Apparently the theatre was overdue for fire code upgrades that would cost over $100,000, which owner Jon Berberian couldn’t afford. As one of the few independent theatres in the city, they had hosted the Rhode Island International Film Festival and Picture Start Film Series. Ever since its closing, the theatre has sat dark with an “opening soon” sign hanging outside.
This past week, the Providence Preservation Society released its annual “Ten Most Endangered Properties” list and included the Columbus Theatre. The purpose of the list is to generate a priority list of historic structures in jeopardy and to work with property owners, developers and other interested parties to effect a positive change in the building’s status. Some of the properties featured on past lists have been saved, such as The Foundry, now the apartment building The Promenade, or the Shepard Building, now home to URI’s Providence campus.
The Providence Preservation Society welcomes members and accepts donations to support their preservation advocacy work. Let’s hope this is the year for these buildings to be revitalized. I can’t wait to start shopping in The Arcade on Westminister Street…
Providence Preservation Society
21 Meeting Street