Suburban World Theatre, 3022 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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The Suburban World Theatre

The suburban world theatre main facade, taken in 2014
Interior of the building shortly after its completion, 1930
Address: 3020 Hennepin Avenue S
Neighborhood/s: Uptown, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1927-1928
Primary Style: Spanish Revival
Secondary Style: Other
Major Alterations: Some/mostly intact
Historic Function: Theater/concert hall
Historic Function: Coffeeshop, Restaurant
Current Function: Closed for renovation
Architect or source of design: Liebenberg and Kaplan architects
Builder: Day Laborers
Material of Exterior Wall Covering: Sandstone
Building Permit Number: 207036
Part of the Site: Uptown

Uptown Minneapolis Hennepin County

Suburban World Theatre, 3022 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.947809, -93.298677Latitude: 44°56′52.112″N
Longitude: 93°17′55.237″W



The Suburban World Theatre located at 3022 Hennepin Avenue South was previously known as “Granada Theatre”. It represents one of the only remaining vestiges of the old Uptown. It is, certainly, the only standing “atmospheric theatre” from the old cinema Golden Era. Moreover, it has been an excellent example of the technologically developed interior, which was newly introduced in the time in which it was built.


In 1927, Liebenberg and Kaplan architects designed a neighbourhood theatre and named it as “Granada Theatre” to evoke the town of medieval Spain. As a neighbor of the well-known Uptown Theatre, Granada Theatre was another example of the extravagance of the golden era of the cinema industry. Its outdoor theme of the interior achieved its uniqueness among the wide range of theatres in Minneapolis throughout the 20th century. In the early 1950s, Ted Mann bought the theatre. Shortly after that, he designated an amount of $100,000 to conduct remodelling and renovation works including: remodelling the lobby, increasing the number of seats to 800, installing new air conditioning system, and furnishing the lounge and restrooms areas. In 1954, Mann changed its name to “The Suburban World Theatre” which has been its name since then. Between the 1950s and 1960s, the theatre was in unstable situation, for the many remodelling plans that were proposed and some of them suggested a total remodelling of its exterior façade. Although not many of these proposals were implemented, the Marquee was redesigned and replaced by Liebenberg and Kaplan, the architects who originally designed the building. Additionally, the theatre’s wrought-iron doors and chandelier were removed. In 1991, Cinemaland Theatres bought it, and in that time there were some proposals to split the theatre and alter its function to a coffee shop or restaurant. In 1999, moreover, Scott Johnson bought the building, and in that time it was operated as a combination of a restaurant and a movie-house. In 2002 Johnson sold the building to Dan Driggs, who owned it until 2010. Currently, a Florida based real estate development company “Elion Partners” owns the building. This company is planning in collaboration with DJR Architects to turn its function to retail, with individual tenants.


Its Spanish Churrigueresque Revival style is highlighted by the sandstone veneer façade that comprises scallop shaped niches, cartouches on top of the arched windows, and a densely detailed parapet. The balconies with the highly detailed handrails overlooking Hennepin Avenue, imply an active interaction with the street. Furthermore, the different size spines in the parapet bolster the Spanish language of the Façade.


The main concept of the interior, is to bring the outdoors indoors. This concept was accomplished through the Churrigueresque style. Moreover, the indoor courtyard environment was achieved by the mock balconies, balustrades, and artificial trees, which vigorously bolstered the outdoor environment concept. More importantly, the newly developed technology of the atmospheric ceiling was successfully implemented in this theatre. At nights, the lights go off, and the stars start to shine in the ceiling. Also, a cloud machine projects clouds on the ceiling as well as an illusion of a moon, and therefore completes the outdoor picture with the artificial trees and balconies.


The Suburban World Theatre was designated by “Minneapolis Heritage Preservation Commission” HPC as an Individual Landmark (exterior and interior) by historic use in 1991.

Current State & Future Plans

The Suburban World Theatre is currently owned by the Florida-based real estate firm Eliot. This firm, in collaboration with DJR architecture firm, is currently working on renovating the building and changing its function to a single tenant 6,000 square foot retail space. The restoration work in the exterior mainly aims to restore the 1950s image of the building. That restoration includes adding architectural lights, repairing the wrought-iron grills and replacing the doors. The interior restoration work aims to mainly remove all the additions of the year 1999, and bringing back the old theatre’s image of the 1950s. Also, the sunken floor will be raised again, but will be held off the existing walls by 4 feet to allow people to move around and to maintain the original design of the interior walls. The sky-like ceiling will be repaired and all the damages in it will be rectified. Also, the architecture firm intends to repair the cloud machine and place it in its original place, in order to have the same outdoor sky look of the ceiling. Besides the retail function of the theatre, the architecture firm confirmed to secure the theatrical function of the place by the raised floor approach that would allow the building to be used for any entertainment events if the retailers decided to leave the building.

Photo Gallery

Original Drawings


1960s Proposals

Recent Photos

Future Plans

Related Links

Reuse proposal pt.1

Reuse proposal pt.2

Reuse proposal pt.3

Reuse proposal pt.4


1. Kenney, Dave. Twin Cities Picture Show: A Century of Moviegoing. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2007.

2. Besse, Kirk J. Show Houses: Twin Cities Style. Minneapolis, MN: Victoria, 1997.


4. Mack, Linda. "Historic Theater Won't Be Devided." Star Tribune Staff Writer, 1999, 1-4B.

5. Crafton, Cathy. "Historic Suburban World: Interior Shows Spanish Motif." Calhoun News, 1991, 5.

6. Morse Kahn, Deborah. "The Magic of the Suburban World." Southwest Journal, 1999, 43.

7. Mason, Ralph. "$100,000 Remodeling of Movie Theater Planned." Minneapolis Star Staff Writer, 1959.


9. Imboden, Thatcher, and Cedar Imboden Phillips. Uptown Minneapolis. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2004.

10. Hennepin Country Library.

11. Vomhof Jr, John. "Florida Developer Buys Suburban World Theater, Eyes Retail." Minneapolis/St.Paul Business Journal, 2014.

12. "In Development, Suburban World Theatre." Southwest Journal Volume 24, no. 16 (2013): A7.

13. Imboden, Thatcher. "The Suburban World Theater Reborn." Our Uptown. July 13, 2013.


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