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Iconic Tivoli Theater sold to church; plans include bringing back movies


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    ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — The Tivoli Theater is one of St. Louis’ most iconic landmarks. As of Saturday, it’s now under new ownership.

The Tivoli Theater opened in 1924 in the Delmar Loop as a single screen theater showing mostly documentaries, independent and foreign language films. It closed in 1994 after years of decline and changes in ownership. That same year, Joe Edwards, owner of Blueberry Hill, bought the property. He spent more than $2 million renovating it while trying to maintain its historic character.

“When I bought the Tivoli building there was four feet of standing water in the basement and everything was collapsing,” said Edwards.

He handed over the keys Saturday to Pastor Brent Roam of One Family Church.

“It’s a complete dream come true so I feel ecstatic,” said Roam.

For the last 10 years, Roam rented the Tivoli on Sundays to hold church. Landmark Theaters also leased the space until last year when COVID hit. Now as the theater’s new owner, Roam wants to bring the movies back.

“My goal would be to provide fun, exciting, affordable films for students, for community members, for families, for film lovers all over St. Louis,” said Roam. “I love the idea of some classics, foreign films, documentaries, some cutting-edge cool films, some family-oriented movies.”

He also plans to offer much more affordable snacks.

“It’s a house of worship. Offering films for us is part of what we want to do as an act of community service so it’s not our goal or intention, we’re not in the movie business per say. We’re not trying to compete with AMC, that’s not our interest,” said Roam.

His main interest is continuing Sunday church services. Sunday was his church’s first time in-person at the Tivoli in over a year. It marked a proud moment for Roam, now helping keep history and the Delmar Loop alive.

“I can’t wait to go to the first movie reopening,” said Edwards.

Roam hopes to begin showing movies this Fall.

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