8:46 am
Fri December 6, 2013

Renovated North Park set to open soon

After months of restoration work,  Hertel Avenue's North Park Theater appears ready to reopen. Local preservationists were provided a preview tour Thursday night.

The North Park's restored marquee was lit briefly Thursday night.
Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

In 1940, the North Park Theater replaced an old wooden marquee with a new one using the then-new technique of masses of neon. On Thursday night, Flexlume returned to the theater and tested the rebuilding of the marquee the company first installed 73-years ago.
The marquee was only tested for a few minutes to  show the array of colors to Preservation Buffalo Niagara as part of its tour of the under-renovation facility. Cars slowed on Hertel Avenue as drivers looked at the lights, off since June.

Owner Tom Eoannou says the massive undertaking should allow for the landmark to reopen in three weeks.

"The floor was a big project and the ceiling. The ceiling, again, had enormous holes in it. The floor, the soundproofing on the floor, had rotted out. The ceiling was seven plasterers for almost two months," Eoannou said.  

Inside, workers keep turning up signs of what Mike Shea built almost a century ago including the original concession stand hidden behind a wall in the lobby. It's ready to go again.

Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news

The owner says there is still a lot of work to do and there are signs of unfinished repairs all over, from the last areas still to paint to the bare concrete floor to areas without seats. Eoannou says it will be done.