Sun-Ray Cinema has shown its last movie in Five Points. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville TodaySun-Ray Cinema has shown its last movie in Five Points. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Today
Sun-Ray Cinema has shown its last movie in Five Points. | Dan Scanlan, Jacksonville Today

Live music venue set for shuttered Sun-Ray Cinema

Published on July 8, 2024 at 2:45 pm

A live music venue will replace the just-closed Sun-Ray Cinema in historic Five Points, according to a Nashville-based company that will manage it.

The announcement came just two days after Sun-Ray showed its last movies at the Park Street site where it has operated for 13 years.

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Marathon Live announced that the new venue will simply be called “FIVE” and will be what it calls a “newly renovated entertainment space” at the theater at 1028 Park St. A grand opening is planned for January.

Marathon Live’s brief news release said the new venue will “honor the rich, cultural history of the neighborhood.” Jacksonville Today asked what will be done to the facility, but a company spokesperson responded only that “additional information will be shared soon.”

The new “FIVE” logo as shown on the venue’s website. | Marathon Live

The Sun-Ray shut down after the building’s new owners, an Atlanta developer called Union South Partners, chose not to renew the theater’s lease. Union South Partners said it planned $2 million in renovations to the four-story building that will “honor the building’s historical uses around entertainment.”

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, founding partner Jay Weaver stating in a May 21 news release

Architect Roy Benjamin designed the four-story building in 1927. Part of its 35,000 square feet was the Riverside Theatre, the first in Jacksonville to screen movies with sound. The building also hosted live stage performances.

The facility changed format and design a few times, and the theater closed a few times during the 1930s and 1940s. The site was remodeled in 1949 as the Five Points Theater, closing again. It closed again in the 1970s before being converted again into a live theater operated by the River City Playhouse.

In 1991, the building became the Club5 nightclub. Then Sun-Ray Cinema opened there in 2011, with streetfront retail and three floors of office space above. Jack Shad acquired the building in 2004, investing $5 million in renovations to restore its original facade and secure a city landmark designation.

Marathon Live operates five facilities in cities like Nashville, Kansas City and St. Louis, helping “venue owners make running their business easy so they can create unique live experiences for their communities,” the company’s website says. Marathon Live is developing the Dennis + Ives office space and music venue on Dennis Street in the city’s Rail Yard District, according to its website.

A concept drawing for the Dennis + Ives venue on Dennis Street in the city’s Rail Yard District. | Marathon Live

Sun-Ray’s owners have not spoken publicly about the theater closure. But just over a week ago, the theater indicated it is seeking another home. In a post on its Facebook page, Sun-Ray said, “We are definitely in need of a bigger theater.”

“We’d love to have a five screen Downtown,” the posting said. “It’s just what Downtown Jax needs — a shiny new five-screen Sun-Ray. Phew … would be lovely.”

author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 email Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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