Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Kees and Colburn, Architects (firm); Priteca, B. Marcus, Architect (firm); Splady, Allee and Smith, Building Contractors (firm); Serenus Colburn (architect); Frederick Kees (architect); Barnet Marcus Priteca (architect)

Dates: constructed 1916

12 stories

708 Hennepin Avenue
Downtown, Minneapolis, MN 55403

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Alexander Pantages created a large-scale chain of theatres primarily west of the Mississippi and in Canada. Originally headquartered in Seattle, Pantages later moved his base of operations to Los Angeles. By all accounts, Pantages, a Greek immigrant, had a fantastic memory, was highly perceptive and possessed solid business skills. During the period 1911-1916, he made a tremendous expansion of his theatrical empire, building many venues most of which were designed by the Seattle-based architect B. Marcus Priteca. This Minneapolis theatre was built at the tail end of this 1910s growth spurt that would be cooled by the advent of World War I and the Spanish Flu Pandemic of 1918-1919. By 1928, Pantages would control 63 profitable theatres across North America.

Building History

Pantages commissioned the Minneapolis architectural firm of Kees and Colburn to design the 12-story office building in which the Pantages Theatre was located. The Seattle architect B. Marcus Priteca (1889-1971) supplied the plans for the theatre's interior. The Minneapolis contracting firm of Splady, Allee and Smith constructed the theatre and office building, completed in 1916.

The Minneapolis Pantages Theatre was built at the same time as an identical theatre in Tacoma, WA. Two years later, B. Marcus Priteca's same theatre plan was reused for the Pantages Theatre in Salt Lake City, UT.


The City of Minneapolis said of the Pantages Theatre: "Through several changes in ownership and renovations, the interior auditorium and lobby have retained historical integrity. Originally a vaudeville theater, the 1926 refurbishing marked its transition to movie theater. Renovations, again, in both 1945 and 1961 made the theater more accommodating for modern uses. However the theater closed in 1984. In 2002, a completely renovated Pantages Theater re-opened, making it only one of the few extant vaudeville theaters on Hennepin Avenue." (See City of, "Pantages Theater," accessed 02/07/2021.)

PCAD id: 23758