Bloomington’s historic Von Lee theater was built in 1928 and designed by Bloomington’s first local architect, John Nichols (1859-1929), in an eclectic take on the Spanish Colonial Revival style. In 1930, the building became Peterson’s Market and was a grocery store until 1948 when the Vonderschmidt family converted it to cinema use again and renamed it Von Lee. It ASSOCIATED FIRMBloomington Kirkwood, LLC, OwnerCOST PER SQ FT$142.85FEATURED IN2007 Architectural PortfolioSUB CATEGORYRenovation known for its art and independent film selections, and remained a cinema until 2000 when it was shuttered and deed-restricted to show movies for 15 years. It soon fell into disrepair until the developer purchased the building in 2006 and received approval by the Bloomington Historic Preservation Commission to redevelop this iconic building situated at the entrance of Indiana University.
The adaptive-reuse design was challenging because three original walls and the canopy entrance needed to be preserved. The design included setting part of the new second and third stories back, which would allow additional windows/light and a mansard roof, which effectively reduced the massing of the new building.
The development is a LEED-registered building with hopes to be certified by the end of the year. The first floor is used as retail space, and the second and third floors are occupied by Indiana University’s Office of Creative Service Department.