Metro theatre toronto

Metro Theatre could become a fitness club

The 75-year-old Metro Theatre in Koreatown may have shown its last porno. The building's new owners are planning to turn the faded building into a fitness studio, according documents filed with the city this week.

The theatre, famous for its repertoire of bawdy titles, closed in December when owner Kar Green sold the property. CBC News reported in 2012 that Green was seeking in the region of $3.8 million. It's not clear how much the building eventually fetched.

The plan floated by the new owners would see the old theatre gutted to make way for a 390 square metre fitness studio. The seats and screen from both the ground level and first floor theatres would be removed and the interior converted into a single, cavernous room. The foyer would also be extensively remodelled.

The plans do not call for major changes to the building's exterior, however. The marquee and brick facade facing Bloor St. is due to be left untouched (perhaps cleaned,) though the retail area, currently occupied by a Nepali handicraft store, would be expanded and given new windows.

It's not clear whether a fitness chain will rent the space. A representative for the new owners said they were keeping their options open.

The Metro Theatre was built in 1939 and specialized in B-movies and other alternative films during its halcyon years. Starting in the 1950s, movie house became famous for screening movies with salacious titles like The Love Pill and The 1001 Perversions of Felicia (filmed "in sizzling eroticolor".)

Green, who had once hoped to revive the theatre's faded fortunes by introducing independent and foreign movies, sold to the current owners in August last year, according to documents on file with the city.

The fitness centre concept is dependent on the city granting a minor zoning variance.

Will you miss the Metro Theatre if the plans come to fruition?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.


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