San Marco Theatre starts interior work to prepare for tenants

Owner TSG Realty says leasing interest in the historic structure “has been really high.”

The San Marco Theatre at 1996 San Marco Blvd. in Jacksonville.
The San Marco Theatre at 1996 San Marco Blvd. in Jacksonville.
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San Marco Theatre owner TSG Realty is preparing the closed venue for leasing to tenants.

“We are trying to get the space more open. Leasing interest at this building has been really high so far,” said Pam Howard, property manager and agent for Jacksonville-base TSG Realty.

The city is reviewing a permit application for Building Dynamics Inc. of Jacksonville Beach to remove some of the interior items of the two-story, almost 5,000-square-foot structure at an estimated cost of $160,000.

Doherty Sommers Architects Engineers Inc. is the architect.

“The permit is for some interior demo inside the building,” Howard said.

She said Feb. 14 that TSG Realty primarily is removing interior walls and flooring. 

“There are almost no seats or other personal property remaining inside the building. Several groups and people including Habitat for Humanity were given items from the inside,” Howard said.

She said TSG Realty is talking with national and local concepts about leasing the space.

Ownership listed the theater for lease with the Colliers commercial real estate company Jan. 24.

Colliers Senior Director Matthew Clark and associates Olivia Steinemann and Sam Middlekauff are representing the 85-year-old property in historic San Marco Square.

“We are already talking to some great tenants and hope to bring a really good user to this space,” Howard said Jan. 25.

It consists of the 4,750-square-foot theater at 1996 San Marco Blvd. and the 1,950-square-foot building next to it at 1992 San Marco Blvd.

“The theatre was one of the most elegant, opulent cinemas in the city and designed by architect Roy Benjamin,” Clark posted on LinkedIn. said Benjamin, a nationally recognized architect, also built the Florida Theatre Downtown.

“When designing the San Marco Theatre, Benjamin, having to keep up with current trends, dropped the Moorish, Spanish and Italianate designs and converted to Art Deco,” the site says.

Colliers is marketing the property as the San Marco Theater Building.

The owners of the two-screen theater announced Dec. 28 that the venue would close Jan. 1 because of a changing industry where theaters increasingly compete with streaming services for patrons, as well as the coronavirus pandemic’s negative effect on attendance.

Howard said the building and facade will remain.

“We would never demolish this building. It’s structurally sound and looks fantastic,” Howard said. 

“We are committed to always having the exterior façade look like the San Marco theater.”

TSG Realty announced Sept. 8 it bought the San Marco Square properties anchored and leased by the San Marco Theatre and Stellers Gallery for $3.35 million.

Stellers Gallery is under lease at 1900 San Marco Blvd. 

The third bay between the theater and the gallery is not occupied.

The buildings were developed in 1938 and together sit on 0.28-acre.

TSG Realty bought the properties from San Marco Real Estate Partnership LLC.