Friday, October 19, 2007


This is the newly-erected structure that now occupies the front part of the property where the Avenue Theater once was. This single-story structure features retail shops offering cellphone accessory merchandise. And right behind it is a vast parking lot.

The Avenue building -- designed by Juan Nakpil and built during the 1930s -- was the tallest in the area and boasted a movie theater, hotel, retail shops and small offices. It was among the few buildings on Avenida Rizal that survived the American bombardment during the Battle of Manila.

Suggested read: Sigh ... Sigh ... Sigh by Carlos Celdran


posted by Señor Enrique at 7:33 PM


Blogger Photo Cache said...

they could not preserved the avenue theatre? well, maybe we need more parking space.

October 20, 2007 4:27 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Instead of conserving the old Avenue building, Photo Cache, the owners opted to demolish it so as not to have to supposedly pay exorbitant property taxes. By having a mere parking lot, its tax assessment would then be much lower, I guess.

October 20, 2007 5:51 AM  

Anonymous bw said...

Another one of those important historical landmarks lost to urban modernization . This looks like a trend that cannot be reversed any longer, when enterpreneurs are willing go all the way to get much neeed real estate :(

October 20, 2007 7:41 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

Sadly, you may be right, BW. Because for most with such investment exposure, it's maximizing the profits more so than conserving culture and heritage :(

October 20, 2007 8:51 AM  

Blogger ScroochChronicles said...

It's sad that our government does not give some sort of initiative to preserve old and historical structures. I don't really know if it's done in other countries but I would like to see a cityscape similar to say, Prague or even some quaint town in Poland. Yun bang preserved yung mga buildings nila. Sayang eh.

October 20, 2007 4:20 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

The previous administration wasn't too keen on heritage preservation, Scrooch, but with Mayor Lim on the helm, we may have a more symphathetic mayor, hence save more landmark structures from getting demolished.

October 20, 2007 5:56 PM  

Blogger Urbano dela Cruz said...

you'll be surprised at how much a parking lot earns per square meter vs. the development costs.

losing an iconic structure was bad enough. having it replaced by a low value building is worse.

and this is where some good urban planning regs should have come into play. if the zoning code had a minimum height requirement - say 4 to 5 stories - and mixed use (2 floors commercial, three floors residential) - the replacement building would have added much more to the street and the city

the regs would also have deterred cheap investment.

October 21, 2007 7:32 PM  

Blogger rowena said...

This post reminds me of my childhood days. We always frequent Avenida Rizal's theaters (esp. when there's a good movie) restos, shopping at Plaza Fair, Fair Center or Fair Mart, going to Goodwill bookstore to buy more stationeries/stickers, dining (Ongpin area) and malling again in Escolta.

October 21, 2007 8:44 PM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

I can imagine it to be quite substantial, Urbano. Parking spaces in Manhattan are commanding staggering prices that almost equal the cost of rental fee for a studio apartment across the bridge.

Apparently, there is no zoning laws in most of Manila; hence developers can build whatever they desire.

October 22, 2007 5:25 AM  

Blogger Senor Enrique said...

That entire enclave you mentioned, Rowena -- Santa Cruz-Binondo area or downtown -- was the premier place to go to for shopping, dining and entertainment. However, since the exodus of the financial community to Makati, eventually everything else followed due to certain reasons. What finally brought it down was the emergence of malls in the Metro Manila areas.

October 22, 2007 5:30 AM  

Anonymous Manila Boy said... a young boy, I enjoyed many, many good movies at Avenue Theatre. I guess nothing is permanent except change.

March 08, 2011 4:06 AM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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