ST. PETE BEACH, Fla. — Just after purchasing the Historic Corey Avenue Beach Theatre, owner Christopher Scott took ABC Action News inside.
"It was dark. There's no power in the building at the moment. The AC wasn't working. There's obviously a musty smell because nobody's been in the building since 2012 2012. Yes. Oh my god”," said Scott.
It was built in 1940, a focal point in the community.
The previous owner, a well-known Hollywood screenwriter, passed away suddenly about 10 years ago. It closed and since then, it's sat in a legal battle.
In November, Scott and his team took us back inside to get a look at the progress.
"As you see from the inside we've started the renovation work, by doing light cleanup of it, the roof is going to be repaired in the next in the next couple of weeks, which will then stop the water leaking into the building," explains Scott.
The seats are being removed because they've been damaged from the water. The team is hard at work to make sure this once vibrant theatre is restored.
"The vision for the building is that we restore it as a cinema or as a movie theater. That we bring it back to life to its original purpose," Scott said.
"I just want to see that theater be revived again. And you know, the community enjoy the independent cinema and live events. And I'm just very excited to be and grateful to be part of the process," said Shana Nichols.
Nichols has been involved in the Tampa Bay film scene for some time now and was eager to get a chance to be part of this new project.
The process of restoring the theatre will take time. But, this team is dedicated to making sure it lives up to its history.
Nichols said, "We'd love to have new releases, new films, show classic films, show live theater, bring back the Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as maybe some comedians. So all sorts of different, just a mixed-use type of entertainment venue for the community to enjoy. And we really think that we can bring back life to Corey Avenue, to the beach. "
The goal is a lofty one but this team hopes to have renovations complete and movies showing within six to nine months.