July 11, 2017

Paris Cinema to be demolished for Worcester beer garden

Grant Welker
Worcester's long-vacant Paris Cinema will be demolished July 18.
Courtesy
An aerial plan showing where the beer garden will fit between existing buildings in Worcester's Grid District.

Worcester's Paris Cinema will finally be demolished next week to make way for a three-season beer garden with 320 seats and an events stage.

The beer garden, part of the Grid District development, will be the first such space of its kind, joining two existing restaurants in the development, coffee shop Brew on the Grid and Mediterranean grill Techni, along with apartment buildings on Franklin Street fronting Worcester Common.

On one side of the beer garden is the Becker on the Grid building, which hosts Becker College students, and the Franklin on the Grid building, with 15 residential units. In the back, behind the theater, is the 80-unit Portland on the Grid.

The new venue will help round-out offerings in downtown Worcester at a time when a new AC Hotel and more than 300 apartments are being built several blocks away on Front Street.

The long-vacant Paris Cinema -- which was once used as an adult cinema -- will be demolished July 18, according to Steve Carter, the Grid District's director of operations. A portion of the beer garden's indoor space will open for this fall, with the remainder next spring, he said.

The beer garden, with 40 beers on tap, will be joined by a planned Asian noodle bar named Stix. MG2 Group, the developer of the Grid District, called redevelopment of the 90-year-old Paris Cinema financially unfeasible.

The Paris Cinema opened in 1926 as the Capitol Theatre, one of three large such venues built in Worcester in the 1920s, according to the group Preservation Worcester, which had advocated for its renovation. It held 2,500 seats before being divided into multiple cinemas in the '60s, and closed in 2006.

A leaky roof and deferred maintenance led to "extreme interior deterioration," the group said.

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