Uptown Church under renovation

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Courtesy Orion Construction

Orion Construction began renovating the historic Uptown Church at 470 Lake Drive SE.

The construction company is repairing the front façade of the building, which fell off due to deterioration and age. The $100,000 renovation is scheduled to be complete in late October.

Built in 1936, the church has transformed into different venues over the past nine decades. The church was originally a movie theater called Eastown Theatre. It was the first air-conditioned movie theater in Grand Rapids that seated 1,000 people.

After Eastown Theatre closed in the 1970s, the building became known as the Bijou Theater in the early 1980s, showing independent and foreign films. It later became a ‘50s- and ‘60s-themed nightclub called Shout in 1987.

In June 1992, the nightclub became Uptown Church, founded by Pastor Bill and Joan Trim. The church offers services in several languages, such as English, Spanish and Swahili.

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