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Architecture & Engineering


Emma Hinchliffeh
Emma Hinchliffe

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April 27, 2022

Talking History: Des Moines theater with colorful past is poised for a big future

The Des Moines Theatre, at 22325 Marine Drive South, first opened in 1947. The 400-seat family-friendly cinema was the first movie theater in the area and was owned by Delbert and Wally Osterhoudt. Wally would later become mayor of Des Moines from 1964-69. By the 1970s, locals were outside picketing the establishment, which had been sold in 1973 and transitioned to showing adult movies. The blue movies continued throughout the 1980s, even stoking a supreme court case, until the theater returned to being family-friendly before its eventual closure in 2012.

Today, owners Dan Spalding, Russ Spalding, Jefferson Angell and Ben Anderson, who purchased the building in 2017, are poised to give the space a new lease of life as a 500-person capacity live music and arts venue. The old theater chairs have been removed to make space for a large open area facing a stage. The new Des Moines Theater will also be home to a coffee shop, two retail spaces, a restaurant and bar, a recording studio which overlooks the events space, a commercial kitchen, green room, outside dining courtyard, a multi purpose space and 18 resident units. The units are housed across a two-story addition atop the original brick structure, and a 16-foot long expansion at the back of the property. The project also includes a parking lot for residents that can double as outside event space.


 
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