Branson, Mo. -- Construction crews have started tearing down the front of the former Grand Palace Theater in Branson. The property is being turned into The Branson Boardwalk.
Part of the Branson Boardwalk will include the Aquarium at the Boardwalk, which is currently under construction.
"We are pleased to report that the construction of the Aquarium at the Boardwalk is going great and we are scheduled to open the summer of 2020," Tej Sundher, with Kuvera Partners, said.
The exterior walls of the aquarium being erected, the pipes are being laid, and the support columns to support a large octopus feature on the front of the building are being constructed.
"We are not only building the aquarium here, but also beautifying the site in many other ways. You'll see that we have a very large lake that is going to go right [along] Highway 76. We also have a lot of vegetation and landscaping, not just on the front of the facility, but all the way throughout," Sundher said.
Sundher says they will also be working to fix "unsanitary and unsafe" conditions within and around the former Grand Palace Property. Kuvera Partners will keep the large, blue structure in tact, however the entire wooden front of the theater will be demolished.
"Most of the wood is at a point where we can't save it or restore it. It's filled with black mold," Sundher said
Sundher says they are preserving historic pieces of the theater to honor its legacy.
"We have recovered a few key historic items that are being refurbished including the piano that was signed by dozens of artists who performed at the Grand Palace, four seats from the Golden Row, that's where all the VIPs sat, and, of course, the iconic chandelier that hung in the lobby for all those years," Sundher said.
Kuvera secured $7 million in Tax Increment Financing, TIF, for the more than $50 million project with unanimous approval from the Branson Board of Aldermen in February. Construction began the day after receiving the approval for the TIF.