Alabama Theater: Preserving The Little, Charming Details

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Most people seem to be happy Trader Joe's might be moving into the old Alabama Theater? Seems so. We're not foodies, so we have no idea how hip/edgy/status symbol a Trader Joe's is.

But the folks at the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance are worried that renovating the old space into an upscale grocery store might result in losing some of the unique touches that made the place special.

Especially the Wizard of Oz-esque yellow-brick-road terrazzo entrance.

"GHPA contacted the state agency after the developer's representative told Houston Archaeological and Historical Commission that the terrazzo would have to be removed to meet provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act," the group says.

Why would the terrazzo be endangered under the ADA? It has a slope slightly steeper than the law allows.

GHPA says it has some plans that could preserve the terrazzo (and a mural in the theater) and still meet legal guidelines, but they're asking for public pressure for Weingarten Realty to meet with them.

They're also urging people to contact Trader Joe's, even offering the following sample letter:

I was very happy to hear that Trader Joe's may be opening in Houston and that the store might occupy the historic Alabama Theater. Houstonians care a great deal about this building.

While I am glad to see that your company has found a viable new use for the Alabama, I am concerned about preliminary plans that call for the removal of the original terrazzo at the building's entrance and one of the murals inside the theater.

I strongly encourage you to preserve all of the significant historic elements of the theater and look forward to visiting Trader Joe's in the renovated Alabama Theater.

Or you could, you know, come up with your own wording.

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