Also known as: Teatro Tower
The Tower Theatre located at SW Eighth Street and Fifteenth Avenue is one of Miami's oldest cultural landmarks. When it opened in December of 1926, it was Robdendon Corporation's newest theater and cost $110,000. Its opening heralded the introduction of the finest state-of-the-art theater in the South. Nelson Tower, the theater's namesake, was appointed director.
On October 3, 1931 , the Tower Theater re-opened following extensive remodeling under the leadership of renowned architect Robert Law Weed. The exterior was developed in an Art Deco style with a prominent 40-foot steel tower that quickly became a neighborhood landmark. The Theater was now a member of Wolfson-Meyer Theatrical Enterprises of Miami.
In the early 1960's, adverse political events in Cuba forced large numbers of refugees to flee to Miami. The area of SW Eighth Street – “Calle Ocho” – became a place of new beginnings. For many Cuban families, movies at the Tower Theater were an introduction to American culture through film and represented a place of entertainment. Soon the Tower Theater altered its programming to include English language movies with Spanish sub-titles, and eventually Spanish language movies. However, after almost sixty years of operation, the Tower Theater was closed to the public in 1984.
In 1987 the Tower Theater was purchased to become part of the Latin Quarter Specialty Center, designed to revitalize the neighborhood. A few short years later, in 1991, the Tower Theater was sold again, and this time was purchased by the City of Miami. On Friday, November 12, 1993 the Florida National Register of Historic Places voted unanimously to nominate the Tower Theater to the National Register as a historic site.
The building was completely renovated in 1997 for the City of Miami by the firm of Bermello, Ajamil & Partners. The renovation honored the theater's authentic Art Deco style, and was designed with the purpose of creating a center for art, film and culture emerging in Miami's immigrant minority communities.
In March 2002 the City of Miami entered into a management agreement with Miami- Dade Community College (now Miami Dade College) authorizing the College to manage and operate the Tower Theater. The College welcomed the opportunity to continue the rich history and tradition of the Tower Theater by promoting the arts in all their forms within the context of South Florida's multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, and international community.