Built in 1921, the historic Belnord Theatre building is an example of minimalist classical style architecture, and has had a significant place in the history of Baltimore’s movie industry. It is also a contributing structure to the National Register East Monument Historic District.
Designed by architect William O. Sparklin, the building is characteristic of Baltimore’s thriving movie industry in the 1920’s. With a seating capacity of eventually 1,500, the Belnord was one of the larger theaters constructed in Baltimore during this period. It was also one of the few theatres in the city that was never segregated and remained in use as a movie theater until 1965.
It was later adapted for re-use as a grocery store, then as a punk rock venue, and then a discount furniture and mattress store before it was purchased by CASA for re-use. CASA plans to renovate the historic building to create a thriving education and employment center to serve the community’s immigrant and working-class families. As both a historic and green building, the new center will include a vocational training lab, job dispatch center, and space for classes, services, youth programs, and community gatherings. CASA anticipates serving 11,000 people annually at the new Center.