Terrace Theater-lovers take proactive approach to save building from wrecking ball


Out of fear a historic Twin Cities theater will one day be demolished, a group of determined citizens are working to make sure that doesn't happen.

When the Terrace Theater opened in Robbinsdale in 1951, it was one of the most luxurious, comfortable and up-to-date theaters in the country, the Robbinsdale Historical Society says.

It was the last indoor theater designed by Twin Cities architects Liebenberg and Kaplan (L&K), who designed or remodeled dozens of other theaters in the Twin Cities, including ones in Wayzata (1932), Edina (1934), Uptown (1937) the Varsity (1938), Preservation Design Works LLC notes.

The 1,300-seat Terrace Theater gained L&K national attention for its design, which featured a sunken den and fireplace, a television lounge, well-furnished nursery rooms and deep and soft cushion seats, the historical society says. During its heyday, the theater attracted guests from every state and even Canada.

In 1999, the Terrace Theater played its last film, and it has sat vacant ever since.

With the fate of the theater undecided (the owner of the property – Brixmor Property Group – has said it plans to sell the site eventually, but hasn't elaborated, the Sun Post reported last winter), residents who have distinct memories of the theater hope it isn't torn down, but renovated into something positive for the community, reports note.

The Save the Terrace Theater group, with help from the Robbinsdale Historical Society, has been getting a lot of media attention in the past few weeks as it revs up its campaign to save the theater.

In May, David Leonhardt, one of the leaders of the preservation group, asked the Robbinsdale City Council not to act hastily if a request came forward to demolish the building as the group works to identify historic preservation options and future use of the site, city council minutes show.

And last week, the group took another step, presenting the city council with a petition signed by nearly 2,200 Terrace Theater-lovers hoping to convince city leaders not to accept a demolish request if one happens to come along, Twelve TV notes.


But restoring the theater comes at a steep price. Robbinsdale Council Member Pat Backen told the Star Tribune the cost of renovating the dilapidated theater could be upwards of $10 million.

"From a personal standpoint, it would be fantastic to see it come back. As an elected official we'll have to take a wait and see approach,” Backen told FOX 9.

The group hopes to determine if the building is eligible to be named a historic landmark, which would open the door to historic preservation grants and other funding, the paper notes.

The Save the Terrace Group is hosting a public meeting Aug. 5 to discuss the progress the group is making in its efforts, the group's website says.

Next Up

Andrelton Simmons / Minnesota Twins

Twins sign Andrelton Simmons to one-year deal

The former Angels shortstop is a four-time Gold Glove winner.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotans eligible for COVID shots only need to pre-register once for vaccine lottery

This is good news for people worried that they'd need to sign up every week.

police lights

2 people charged in separate Minneapolis homicides that happened hours apart

A woman is accused of stabbing a man in the chest over $60, while a man is accused of accidentally shooting a victim on the man's birthday.

House for sale

Despite pandemic, Twin Cities housing market set records in 2020

Sales were up 7.7% in 2020 compared to the year before.

Target store inside

Target unveils 'limited-edition' home, lifestyle collection with Levi Strauss

The new collection will be available in some stores and everyone online Feb. 28.

Tim Walz

Walz's $52.4 billion budget increases school spending, raises taxes on wealthy

He says the budget will help level the playing field and ensure all Minnesotans have a fair shot at economic recovery,

Screen Shot 2021-01-26 at 12.55.00 PM

Pictures from Minnesota GOP's Deadwood retreat show no masks, no distancing

The pictures were shared in Chair Jennifer Carnahan's latest email newsletter.

Alexus Norberg

Search for girl, 14, missing from St. Cloud

The teen left her home without her parents' permission.

coronavirus, covid-19

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, January 26

The health departments provided new data daily at 11 a.m.


Demolition of the historic Terrace Theater began Saturday morning

The historic Terrace Theater in Robbinsdale is being torn down.

Springsteen to bring 'Wrecking Ball' tour to St. Paul

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band have added 16 dates to their fall tour and will perform at the Xcel Energy Center on Nov. 11, Billboard.com reports. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. on Aug. 4.

The historic Terrace Theater will be demolished this time

Demolition of Robbinsdale's historic theater starts up again Saturday.