I have a fondness for movie theaters. I used to work in one when I was younger. I particularly like the old Art Deco theaters, which really carry you away. I go to the Bookstop on West Alabama street, since you can still see a few elements of the old theater. I joke about the ghost with Whole Food employees at the old Bellaire theater location. (All older movie theaters have a ghost story, but at the Bellaire there was a light that we could never explain- maybe it had something to do with the bar in the lobby). I have movie posters around the house, and more rolled up in tubes. I even made a sculpture out of old seventies film reels in my backyard. All of this leads up to the fact that I am witnessing the destruction of a megaplex close to home.
I never went to this location, since it did not have the best reputation; however, when I saw it being demolished I was shocked. If memory serves, it is around ten years old. Ten years and it is gone. We inspectors are a nosy bunch. I saw that the gate was open, so I pulled in. I walked up to two men on the demolition crew. With my most authoritative voice, I said “professional real estate inspector” hoping that it would buy me an in. From their stares,I gathered that it did not. Now, I should say that my involvement with theaters is a bit deeper than I had let on above. I have overseen the multi-million dollar remodel of one location (as well as smaller remodels), and I have helped with the construction of some other megaplexes. I know from experience that equipment is left in the building when the demo crew arrives. Yes, they confirmed popcorn poppers and other such items were still in there. What a waste I thought. Looking around I saw the pieces of the building crumbling about. I asked if they were going to salvage this mess. Some they replied. All of that metal, sheetrock, EIFS, and other material that will just be going to the dump made me pensive. It could be reused.
Later that day, I was driving through a neighborhood that is undergoing a change. Houses are being torn down, so new larger models can be put up. It is the way of real estate. I remembered a fact about that homes in Japan have a life expectancy of fifteen years. I e-mailed my friend in Japan, and she responded that she sees a lot of construction, but she did not realize that was the case. She could only offer me the fact that her family home has been around for longer than that. I wonder what is done to these homes that have been taken down. I am sure the news would not be good. I just finished reading an article that a home in Chicago has received a LEEDs certification, since they recycled the home that was demolished. Well, there is one home saved, out of how many though.
Someone asked me awhile back how they could make their property more “green”. Don’t tear it down, I replied. I went on to explain that if you are going to replace items on your home with more energy efficient units or with green materials, you should do your best to have the old products reused or recycled. I think that is the greenest thing that we can do.