We love the Kessler Theater. We know two women who REALLY love it, especially in their boots. And now it’s going to get a whole lot more love from our friends in the Bayou City because they are getting a Kessler, too!
Since 2009, Edward Cabaniss’ Kessler Theater has played host to everything from music performances, art exhibitions, and film premieres. Now, Cabaniss is planning on bringing his vision for a venue which celebrates the arts in all of its forms while preserving a beloved piece of local history in The Leader area.
While Cabaniss hasn’t officially purchased the Heights Theater yet, he said he’s currently under contact for the location. Originally constructed in 1928, the 6,600 square foot lot, located at 339 W. 19th St., was listed for sale with a price of about $1.9 million. The building was heavily damaged in 1968 after an unknown arsonist set fire to the building and it was later repaired by Gus and Sharon Koprivas who purchased the building in 1988.
More recently, the city of Houston voted unanimously to make the Heights Theater a protected landmark, offering stringent protections for the iconic building and its future redevelopment, protecting much of the building from being altered. The Heights Theater now joins three other protected city landmarks – The Heights Fire Station, the Houston Heights Woman’s Club and the Heights Library.
There are a lot of similarities between the two theaters, though they are 240 plus miles apart. Both buildings had been badly damaged by fire in the early 1960s (The Heights fire was in 1968) and have served as neighborhood gathering spots.
“It became a really high-end pigeon coop,” Cabaniss says with a laugh about his Kessler, now regarded as not just a Kessler staple but a city staple.
Cabaniss hopes to replicate what he has done with his Dallas venue only in Houston, even down to the architectural plan: Houston voted unanimously to make the Heights Theater a protected landmark, offering “stringent protections for the iconic building and its future redevelopment, protecting much of the building from being altered.”
“It’s close to being the same footprint, so we’re able to pick up our architectural plans and drop them into the Heights Theatre. There will be a few small details that will change but interestingly it won’t be quite as challenging from a design standpoint.”