DES MOINES — The Ingersoll Dinner Theatre used to be the star of its namesake avenue, but the building has sat dark and empty for a decade. A local developer now has a plan to make its marquee shine again.
Connor Delaney of White Oak Realty bought the theatre and rehabilitate it to its Art Deco-age glory, with construction starting next month. The plans will likely include a place for events and screenings, as well as a permanent tenant.
The theatre, built in 1939, has been a perennial source of curiosity from people along Ingersoll Avenue.
“It’s the most popular question we get,” said Lauren Kollauf, the executive director of The Avenues of Ingersoll and Grand neighborhood association. “People ask us all the time, ‘What’s going on with the Ingersoll dinner theatre?'”
The Ingersoll Theatre is not Delaney’s first project on the avenue; he also restored the building a block east now home to the Bartender’s Handshake bar, Enchanted Mystical Boutique, and Loyal Sons Barber Shop.
The work will be intensive, most notably with a new roof and the restoration of the original façade. The renovated theater could open in a year.
“A lot of people in Des Moines have memories of coming to the Ingersoll Dinner Theatre when they were growing up, and I’m sure people will be so excited to get back in there once the restoration is complete,” Kollauf said. : “It’s really fun to see the momentum continue up Ingersoll.”