Capri Theater breaks ground on expansion, renovations

Nikki Love/MSR News Community leaders dig in at Capri groundbreaking

A Who’s Who list of City officials, businessmen and women, community leaders and residents recently gathered for the Capri Theater’s groundbreaking ceremony. The iconic North Minneapolis theater is in the process of a $13-million renovation project, with plans to open its doors again in the fall of 2020.

After inspiring songs and speeches, community leaders dug into the grounds on October 17 in hopes of fulfilling a new vision for the theater, located at 2027 W. Broadway Avenue.

The Capri Theater is owned and operated by Plymouth Christian Youth Center (PCYC). Their mission is to enrich the skills, prospects and spirit of North Minneapolis area youth and adults, in partnership with families and communities.

The Capri Theater was built in 1927 when it was called the Paradise Theater. It has undergone several upgrades throughout the years, according to the theater’s website. In 1932, architect Jack Liebenberg remodeled the marquee with an Art Deco-feel to appeal to movie-goers. The marquee featured 837 light bulbs with 21,700 watts total. The next major renovation occurred in 1965 when the lobby was moved to the corner of the building.

In 1993, PCYC transformed the building into the Capri Arts & Learning Center. The second floor and balcony were used as classrooms. The main floor was reduced to create a dance room. Then, in 2007, PCYC launched its “Capri Theater Renaissance,” revamping the Capri and expanding its artistic offerings.

Nikki Love/MSR News Dennis Spears

Plans for the new renovations began in 2015. The expansion will add 20,000 feet and will include state-of-the-art theatrical lighting in the auditorium, a new sound system, acoustical treatments, dressing rooms, a community hall, teen tech center and more.

It’s been a long time coming for the Capri to reach its full potential. It is one of the only movie theaters still standing in North Minneapolis and holds the distinction as the site of the late Prince’s first concert in 1979.

 The significance and ongoing vision of the Capri weren’t lost on the nearly 250 attendees at the groundbreaking. They all came out on a brisk October day to commemorate the expansion and hope for a bright and bolder future for the historic North Minneapolis venue.