The historic Paramount Theatre building in Palm Beach, which opened in 1927 as a silent film cinema and later morphed into a mixed-use retail and office landmark, sold for $14 million.
The family investment firm, Woerner Holdings, through its affiliate WEG Paramount, bought the property at 139 North County Road from Paramount Church, a deed shows.
Paramount Church opened in part of the building, after buying it in 1996 for $3.7 million, a deed shows. Other tenants include E.F. Hutton, Liman Studio Gallery and The French Wine Merchant.
The 35,992-square-foot building is on 1.3 acres, according to property records. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
West Palm Beach-based Woerner Holdings is the parent company for various agriculture, financial securities and real estate investments held by the Woerner family, according to its website. CEO and chair Lester Woerner started the company in 1999. His son, Trent Woerner, is vice president of business development.
Paramount Theatre is among the most recognizable commercial properties in Palm Beach, due to its dome and other architectural elements that are a mix of Moorish Revival and Spanish Colonial style. It also has an inside courtyard and second-story balconies that run along the building portions facing Sunset and Sunrise avenues.
Austrian Joseph Urban, who was a set designer, designed the building, according to a press release. Urban also worked on part of Mar-a-Lago and previously worked on sets for the Metropolitan Opera and New York theatrical productions including the Ziegfeld Follies.
Trent Woerner said in a statement that all work on the building will be done “thoughtfully” with the goal of preserving its character and history.
The non-denominational Paramount Church was founded by Rev. Dwight Stevens, who is well known for his change of career and personal beliefs, as he was an atheist dermatologist before earning his theology doctorate and becoming a pastor. His autobiography is “Atheist Doctor to Palm Beach Minister.” Stevens didn’t return a request for comment.
He told the Palm Beach Daily News that the church closed at the same time as the sale, citing health reasons. The church had held only virtual sermons over the past year.
This is at least the third commercial building sale in Palm Beach in recent weeks. Mayor Gail Coniglio earlier this month sold her office-retail building at 283 Royal Poinciana Way for $7.15 million.
Last month, an entity managed by Gunster law firm CEO and managing shareholder H. William Perry bought a six-story office building on Bankers Row for $17 million.