Good Question: What’s happening with the Former Monroe Avenue Theatre?

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Monroe Theatre has a controversial past.

Some of you might still have fond memories of seeing classic movies like Oklahoma or the Sound of Music at the theatre. Others might have a very different view of the space that used to screen adult films.

Either way, a couple of you wanted an update on what’s happening with the former Monroe Theatre. Drive down Monroe Avenue in the city and you’ll see what remains of the Monroe Theatre. A couple of you have reached out about the history and the future of the building.

Dave asks: “Why has the Monroe Theatre building been vacant for at least past 20 years?”

The building opened in 1927 as a stage theater and became a movie house in the 1960s. About a decade later, it became Show World, exclusively screening adult films.

Show World eventually shut down and in September 2008, the building was partially demolished. the facade, which features beautiful historic carvings and that unmistakable marquis, still stands.

The City of Rochester says the front of the building and the lobby were saved at the request of the community “due to the historic significance on the street.”

What’s left of the building is currently owned by Rainaldi Real Estate and Walgreens (which has a location right next door) leases the space for storage.

So, it hasn’t been totally vacant since 2008, it’s just been repurposed for storage.

I spoke on the phone with owner Fred Rainaldi from Rainaldi Real Estate. He said the lease agreement with Walgreens is still in place for the time being but he is exploring the idea of turning it into a retail space in the future.

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