When the movie theatre on Johnson Drive in Mission opened in 1938, its proprietors advertised its concrete wall construction — novel for a theatre building in those days — as a selling point. If you were watching the Wizard of Oz on the big screen and a real tornado happened upon our little corner of Kansas, chances are the building would be standing strong after the twister passed.
5909 Johnson Dr
Mission, KS 66202
A ribbon cutting and open house will be held Thursday, Jan. 12 from 5 to 8 p.m.[/pullquote]
The facility’s days as a theatre may be long gone, but the strength of its original construction has allowed new owners to transform the historic structure into a stately event space that blends the charm of the original building with classy modern touches.
Kris and Kip Unruh had been managing the property for a while about a year and a half ago when the then-owner decided he needed to sell the theatre and the adjoining retail properties. The Unruhs, who have a property management business based out of Grandview, Mo., generally didn’t look to own property, but found the opportunity along Johnson Drive appealing.
“It was one of those win-win situations,” Kris said.
They took over for the businessman who had been operating an event venue in the space before and starting making sweeping changes. The biggest challenge was leveling the tiered theatre floor. It took dozens of loads of gravel delivered by dump truck to fill in the space. They also peeled back the aging ceiling covering to find a beautiful if rustic ceiling forged of bent timbers, from which they’ve hung four elegant crystal chandeliers:
They converted the space overlooking the dance floor and event area into well appointed bride’s and groom’s rooms:
The exit from the bride’s room leads to a dramatic staircase that leads down to the event floor.
“We’ve got three daughters, and after their weddings you realize, ‘The bride just wants to be seen,’” Kris said. “That’s what the staircase is all about.”
On Thursday, the Unruhs will hold a ribbon cutting for the venue at 5 p.m. followed by an open house that will run through 8 p.m. Kris said she and her husband have been blown away by the warm welcome they’ve received from area merchants and residents.
“We’re from Peculiar and most of our business is in Grandview, but we’ve been so grateful for the welcome we’ve received,” she said. “The surrounding businesses have embraced us. It’s really a cool community here. We feel really honored to get to be a part of it.”
The space is now available for rental for events from weddings and receptions to corporate events, parties and memorial services. To arrange a tour of the space, contact the Unruhs at 913-703-6073.