Permits Issued for Demolition of Imperial Theater in West Philly

Imperial Theater at 215 S. 60th St. in West Philadelphia
The Imperial Theater at 215 S. 60th St. in West Philadelphia

The Imperial Theater opened in 1914 at 215 S. 60th St. in West Philadelphia with a capacity of approximately 1,500 people. By 1954, its life as a theater ended. The building then operated as a roller skating rink for some time.

In June of 2007, Left Handed LLC purchased the property for $55,100. It has repeatedly faced violations and failed inspections since then. Unfortunately, the owners have still not resolved issues found during a failed inspection in November of 2019 and now the building will be demolished in order to comply with the violation.

A permit to seal the sewer lateral was issued in October of 2020. This permit is usually the precursor to demolition. Then, on January 28 of this year, a zoning permit was issued for the demolition of the building:


We took a trip over to West Philly yesterday to take a look at this amazing building. It’s situated on an amazing block made up of 3-story mixed-use buildings with pitched roofs and intricate bays of all colors. If you love architecture, we recommend you get over to 60th Street before the Imperial Theater is gone. At the very least, go check this block out on Google Street View.

We really wish someone could swoop in to save this building, but are not aware of the extent of the issues with the structure. The building sits on a 16,596 square foot, CMX-2 parcel. By-right, a developer could build approximately 33 residential units plus a commercial space. By utilizing the green roof bonus, they could build around 42 units plus a commercial space by-right. With additional bonuses or with a zoning variance, an even larger project can be built. If anything ever does get built here, we imagine in will pale in comparison to the Imperial Theater.

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