The former Boulevard Theater has new owners.
Dave and Beth Perkins, owners of NetSystems, an IT company, are buying the former theater at 900 S. George Washington Blvd.
Eventually, they plan to move NetSystems from its current location in Boulevard Plaza, a few blocks away, to the new location.
The couple is buying the building under Proverbs 16:3 LLC.
“I love the building,” Dave Perkins said. “We have a lot of vision for growth.”
The space gives the business, which provides IT services to other businesses, the potential to expand.
“We can do more for our clients with that much space,” he said.
Plus, “there is the wow factor” that the former theater offers, Perkins said.
“The building is a Wichita landmark,” he said. “Anybody over 40 has a story about that theater. I want to be associated with that.”
Beth Perkins’ father recalls going to the theater years ago to watch a cartoon, serial and feature film – all for 9 cents.
The building requires a lot of cleanup, and there are changes the couple want to make to it as well.
“What we’re really looking for is to have a place of our own we can be proud of and share a bit of Wichita history,” Perkins said.
Original construction began on the theater in 1941, but because of shortages and the war effort, the work was delayed.
A gala opening of the new Fox Boulevard Theater took place in 1945.
It later became the Boulevard Theater.
The Perkinses want to highlight some of the building’s history.
For example, Dave Perkins would like to remove the tall frames that held movie posters on the exterior of the theater building and use them to display some of the theater’s history.
After the theater closed, the building became home to a series of enterprises, such as Gold’s Gym, Harvest Communications and the Amateur Poker League.
The purchase also includes space on either side of the main theater building.
Perkins declined to give a purchase price for the building, which is being sold by the Melvin Davis family.
The site’s location near I-35 and Kellogg is ideal for NetSystems, which employs 12, Perkins said.
Since it works with small and mid-size companies, often at those companies’ work sites, “being able to go anywhere in Wichita quickly is a big deal to us,” he said.