After standing shuttered for nine years, the Beach Theatre – the only movie house on St. Pete Beach – was sold Aug. 11 to Scott Commercial Holdings, LLC.
The 4,800-square-foot theater at 315 Corey Ave. sold for $652,000, according to Pinellas County property records.
“The owner does not yet know what to do with it,” said Hendrik Bisanz, a broker with Seasalt Properties, which arranged the sale to Scott Commercial Holdings. “There are a lot of ideas.
Bisanz said that he and principal Christopher Scott started exchanging online articles about “what to do with an old theater. And that’s still where we’re at now.”
Constructed in 1940, the Beach was the first theater in the county built exclusively for sound pictures. It was also one of the first to be equipped with air conditioning.
Screenwriter Michael France (Cliffhanger, Goldeneye) bought the aging facility in 2007 and programmed small, independent films, cinema classics and cult favorites like The Rocky Horror Picture Show.
France died unexpectedly in April, 2013 from complications related to diabetes; he’d had to close the Beach Theatre the previous November due to money woes.
“The theater needed a lot of work,” said his father Michael France Sr., who operates Beach Theatre Management, LLC. “We got such an excellent offer on it, as is – we didn’t really have to do anything, although I did put a new roof covering on it.”
Legal and intra-family complications kept the building off the market for nine years. “When it came up for sale,” France Sr., said, “we had I’m forgetting how many offers.
“I would go by the theater and work inside, just to see if I could find anything that needed my attention, and people would come by and ask about, constantly.”
Scott Commercial Holdings was registered as a Limited Liability Company Aug. 2, with 315 Corey Ave. – the Beach Theatre building – listed as its address.