Castle Cinema, Neighborhood Revitalization Award
The restoration of the 1925 Castle Cinema at 1039 Chalkstone Avenue represents the collaboration of Anthony, Leonard, Larry and Edward Gemma and partner Robert J. Levine, who purchased the property in the fall of 2000. This small, two-story, brick movie house is notable for its Art Deco porcelain tile and terra cotta façade and stainless steel and enameled metal marquee. Constructed within a neighborhood shopping node, the theater has long served as a local landmark in the Mount Pleasant/Elmhurst neighborhood. The building was included on the Society’s Ten Most Endangered Properties List in 1999 when it was up for sale and threatened by competition from suburban movie complexes. The property owners acquired a $242,000 low-interest loan through the Providence Economic Development Corporation to help finance the restoration and rehabilitation of this historic theater. The project demonstrates how the preservation and reuse of a prominent local landmark can have a positive impact on its surrounding neighborhood.