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Developer converting shipping containers to outdoor movie theatre in Northside

Posted: 10:38 AM, Sep 25, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-25 12:48:14-04
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CINCINNATI — Developer Jonathan Sears wants Northsiders to see more than shipping containers in his latest project.

Sears, executive director at PAR Projects, is transforming the space at 1662 Hoffner Street into a gathering place for the community.

The building-courtyard combo will boast art installations and an outdoor movie theatre. The outdoor theatre, which will “introduce shipping container construction” to the neighborhood, will be ready to use by the spring, Sears said.

Two shipping containers stacked on top of each other will house the projector screen, and moviegoers will be able to watch on the 5,000 square feet of turf in the courtyard.

The main building will house office space and space for classes that community members can use. An art gallery will also be inside.

Sears said they originally thought they were going to tear down the building, which used to be a lumber drying facility.

“It was more of a, ‘How do we save the building’ instead of trying to rebuild,” Sears said. “We spent money trying to stabilize, re-roof it, brand new electric service, all new wiring.”

The movie theatre will operate on a “pay it forward” model. Sears said moviegoers can contribute donations to cover the cost of the films.

“If you can donate a dollar, please feel free, otherwise, free screenings,” Sears said.

Sears said residents have embraced the idea and that the building “just felt like the right place” for a community spot.

“I just want people to get together,” Sears said. “That’s the whole purpose of focusing everything around a courtyard … places where artists can come and hang out, places where community members from all parts of the community can be welcome.”

Sears is trying to fundraise for the restrooms, which will be inside a shipping container. Sears said they’re asking the community to help with the last $25,000, which will help cover water and sewer lines.

Click here for more information on the project.

WCPO's ongoing series, Move Up Cincinnati, tracks regional growth and how our community is working to uplift those left behind. To contact the Move Up Cincinnati team, email us at moveupcincinnati@wcpo.com .

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