? ? The Gateway Playhouse in Somers Point, NJ ?looks like a rundown warehouse, because it was was built as a warehouse in late 1800?s.??? In early 1900?s, ?the old owner ?made extra money setting up seats and a ?screen and showing movies to tourists in the summer.? (Liquor was banned in Ocean City, so tourists flocked to Somers Point just across the bridge where it was plentiful–as they do today.) ?When plush new movie theaters were built in nearby Atlantic City in the 1920’s, the old warehouse/movie theater fell on hard times. ? For the next 60 years, it was used on and off for summer-stock plays.??? ?During the 1980?s, the theater was abandoned and fell into disrepair when its amateur productions could not compete with the world class productions in the new casino showrooms in Atlantic City.
Today, reduced demand caused even Atlantic City ?casinos to cut back on live entertainment.?? The building was an empty ?wreck long before Hurricane Sand briefly flooded the basement.??? In a normal world, the Gateway would have been demolished years ago and replaced with a productive store, condo, or professional offices.?? But the new ?non-profit? owners seem to be making far more money milking taxpayers.?? The vacant theater is exempt from? property taxes.? It? got $400,000 NJ Economic Development Authority grant last April, and $104,000 state ?Historical Preservation Grant?.?? Now, the project just got ?Hurricane Sandy Relief Money?!? By state and federal law, only expensive union contracts can work on the building.