With a spirit of optimism beginning to envelop us all, what with the slow ending of the pandemic of 2020, I've turned my focus to resuscitating projects left for dead in wake of the pandemic. There are a fair number of properties that are now up for sale or lease around Kalamazoo, having been left for dead. Maybe the highest profile of which is the former Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, (most recently operating as the AMC Movie cineplex).

While few if any miss the AMC incarnation of the theatre, many in the Kalamazoo area miss the Alamo. The Alamo people were movie fans, and going to see a film there was an experience. It restored the fun in movie going. But alas, those days are gone.

So what could you put into that building, so it's not just empty, collecting dust?

Here's three ideas.

How about a giant urgent care facility? People are always getting sick, so there'd be no shortage of customers. There's plenty of theatres that could be remodeled into examination rooms. And if the doctor needs to see an x-ray, you could project it onto to the screen and make it as big as it needed to be, In fact, you could magnify it so big that a hairline fracture would look the size of a tree.

Or. It might take some enticement money, but what about a Horrocks? They've got one in Kentwood and they had one in downtown Battle Creek (they just abandoned the former Sears store and are now moving to Lakeview Square Mall.) I think Kalamazoo would go nuts for it. While Horrocks carries some mainstream grocery items, it's the specialty items that would attract shoppers, not to mention the booze selection.

A finally, the most realistic option for the building. How about creating a Credit Union World? Put a separate credit union facility in each of the individual theatres. Let them compete with each other. Since everyone around here thinks every empty building is going to be filled with a credit union, just do it.

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Irving Gilmore Mansion, Kalamazoo, 516 W. South Street,

This is the Irving Gilmore Mansion in downtown Kalamazoo, a block from the Art Institute, Bronson Park and the Civic Center.


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