*CORRECTION: A fourth Panera location in Columbia was omitted in an earlier version of this story.
COLUMBIA — The downtown Panera Bread bakery and cafe will close at the end of the year.
The restaurant, at 102 S. Ninth St., has resided in the historic Hall Theatre building since 2005. Plans for the building have not been announced.
The downtown store has not released its reason for closing, Panera said. Stores typically end their leases because they can't upgrade the space, the company said.
According to the State Historical Society of Missouri, the theater was designed in 1915 by Columbia architect George T. Sasse under the guidance of Thomas C. Hall a Moberly businessman. It housed Vaudeville acts and silent movies.
With heat, electricity and a cooling system, the Hall was the first theater of its kind in Columbia, according to Missourian archives.. It was continually updated to adapt to the changing pace of entertainment and was sold to the Commonwealth Amusement Corp. in 1955.
In the mid-1960s, the Iconic-style Grecian columns caught the eye of Gary Lewis, an MU student at the time. He purchased the property in 1987.
After renovating the theater in the late 1980s, Lewis sold the building to Columbia entrepreneur Stan Kroenke of The Kroenke Group. The group has been renting the space to Panera since 2005 according to the Boone County Assessor's Office.
Panera has three other restaurants in Columbia: 2300 Bernadette Drive, 3709 S. Providence Road and 100 Brickton Road.*
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