Real Estate News

Paris Theater in South Beach hits market for $23 million

The Paris Theater on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach.
The Paris Theater on Washington Avenue in Miami Beach. Marcus & Millichap

The historic Paris Theater in Miami Beach — designed in 1935 by Art Deco architect Henry Hohauser — is on the market for $23 million.

The 1,200-seat entertainment hall, at 550 Washington Ave., operated as a cinema called the Variety Theatre from the 1940s through the 1960s and was later repurposed by various owners into an adult movie house, a nightclub, and a photography and film studio

It it located in an area of South Beach that may be due for a revival.

Lincoln Road and Ocean Drive have far outstripped Washington Avenue in attracting high-profile tenants and high rents. Properties on in-demand Lincoln Road have traded for $6,500 per square foot this summer. A Victoria’s Secret on Collins Avenue sold for $1,885 per square foot in the spring.

At the Paris, owner Eugene Rodriguez is asking $895 per square foot for the four-story building, which is listed in Miami Beach’s historic properties database. He bought the 25,589-square-foot structure in 1992 for less than $1 million and transformed it into a studio for the film and photo industry.

Rodriguez may be cashing out at the right time. Miami Beach city leaders are considering a series of proposals that advocates say will help revitalize the area. Those include raising height limits for buildings and lowering parking requirements .

“They’re redoing the whole neighborhood right now,” Rodriguez said. “I think it’s a good time for the property to move on to someone else.”

Alejandro D’Alba of the brokerage Marcus & Millichap, which is handling the sale, said the prospect of a redeveloped Miami Beach Convention Center has jumpstarted interest in the area around the theater.

“Washington Avenue is a bargain,” D’Alba said. “It’s one of the last major ‘value’ streets left in South Beach.”

The Paris was recently renovated and D’Alba said prospective buyers will most likely use it as an entertainment or nightlife venue.

The Paris was a hot location in the ’90s when Miami’s fashion and film industries were riding high. Madonna, U2 and the Red Hot Chili Peppers shot album covers and music videos there. As those businesses died down, Rodriguez rented out the space for events and parties. On the weekends, it became a go-to nightspot called Club Bamboo.

When Rodriguez took over the building, it had been empty for several years. Before that, it was used as a nightclub called the Paris Moderne and as a blue movie house. A photo from 1981 shows the Paris’ marquee offering two films, one with a female cast and another all male.

Said Rodriguez: “Times change.”

Miami Herald staff writer Joey Flechas contributed to this report