The Drexel Theatre, Columbus’ non-profit, 1930s Art Deco cinema, has officially been added to the National Register of Historic Places as a historic place worthy of preservation. Selected as a historic building contributing to the community’s recreation and culture, the Drexel is only the fifth site in Bexley to be honored with this national designation. The National Register recognition allows the Drexel Theatre to apply for state and federal historic tax credits in the fall to use towards 2016 renovations.
“The Drexel has been a Bexley icon for decades, and it is a proud moment to see it take its rightful place on the National Register of Historic Places,” stated Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler. “The theatre is a valuable driver of economic development for our community, and a sentimental symbol of our rich history and commitment to the arts.”
The Drexel has also broken ground on new construction to build an addition onto the west side of the building adjacent to the theatre lobby for brand new men’s and women’s restrooms. The construction will commence on recently acquired land that was a small corner of the former Bexley City Hall property. Elford Construction will take on the project which is expected to be complete in the fall of 2015. Friends of the Drexel anticipates renovation of the theatre’s iconic marquee, lobby, and three inner theatres in 2016.
The renovations will complement existing improvements completed in 2012-13, including replacement of the barrel roof over all three theatres and a 10-ton HVAC unit. All three theatres were also converted to state-of-the-art digital projection and sound, allowing for the implementation of a cutting-edge closed captioning system that utilizes holographic technology to project text onto the lenses of specialty glasses provided to hearing-impaired patrons.
“Friends of the Drexel has worked tirelessly to not only save this beloved theatre, but to improve and restore it for future generations,” said Richard Stoff, Chairman of the Friends of the Drexel Board. “None of this happens without extraordinarily committed public partners, dedicated community leaders and board members, a great theatre manager and financial steward in CAPA, and our thousands of loyal patrons who gather regularly at their neighborhood arthouse year after year for the best in independent film. We are proud of its richly earned designation on the National Historic Register and equally proud to enter this phase of the theatre’s rejuvenation. We are committed to completing the restoration in 2016, and won’t rest until that happens.”
About the Drexel Theatre
For generations, the Drexel Theatre has been central Ohio’s first source for independent film and the best of Hollywood and international cinema, striving to specialize in simply the best films from around the world.
About Friends of the Drexel, Inc.
Established in late 2009 by a group of committed community leaders and arts patrons, Friends of the Drexel, Inc. is an independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to a more creative and prosperous future for the Drexel Theatre. Its mission is to secure and sustain the future of the historic Drexel Theatre as a distinctive cultural asset to Bexley and the greater Columbus community. It envisions the Drexel as a sustainable provider of unique arts content as well as a vibrant community meeting place that preserves the charm and eclectic, neighborhood film-going experience in a warm and inviting, yet technologically-advanced, facility.