DES MOINES, Iowa — A historic movie theatre across the street from Drake University is nearly ready for its feature presentation after years of rehabilitation.
The revived Varsity Cinema will likely show its first movies before the end of the year, according to its owner and operator, the Des Moines Film Society. The society’s executive director, Ben Godar, said the restoration is “98 percent done” and is waiting on a few more materials to finish the job.
The effort to save the cinema has raised about $5 million, which Godar said is far past what the non-profit organization expected to raise for the project.
He said the money raised speaks to the need for the Varsity in Des Moines.
“Sometimes people think about this in terms of the arthouse movies and international films that people feel like aren’t coming to Des Moines, but just geographically it fills a need,” Godar said. “Our movie theatres are out in the suburban ring, so we’re really excited to open a cinema right in the heart of Des Moines.”