Rialto Theatre For Sale

posted by seaver on March 1, 2005 at 1:02 pm

EL DORADO, AR — The beautiful 1929 Art Deco Rialto Theatre is for sale on eBay. The Rialto currently functions as a three-screen first-run movie theatre. Its balcony has been divided into two 100-seat auditoriums and the downstairs remains a 400-seat venue.

The Rialto Theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is unique in the mid-south as to its condition and significance. This Historic theatre has been well maintained and remains in fair-good condition.

Current Lease

The Theatre is currently under lease with a regional movie chain. This lease expires October 31, 2006 and has an option to renew for an additional two years at $2000 per month. This lease is a net lease with the Lessor being responsible for the structural parts of the building including the roof, and the Lessee being responsible for all other charges, including utilities.

Contacting the owners
If you have any questions, feel free to contact the owners Richard and Vertis Mason.
Email:
Phone: 870-862-5155 ext 10

The following sections are the descriptions found in the National Register of Historic Places.

National Register Summary Description

Constructed in 1929, the Rialto Theatre in El Dorado, Arkansas, was a response to the demand for expanded cultural opportunities by the oil-boom inflated population. This theatre is one of the best local examples of the Classical Revival style and is executed in red brick and decorative stone. The Rialto occupies a corner lot in El Dorado’s downtown commercial district and is located one block south of the Court square. The Rialto is easily the largest and, according to newspaper accounts, the most elaborate theatre in South Arkansas.

National Register Detailed Description
The Rialto Theatre is basically rectangular in plan, and rises three stories above ground level. A rear basement houses the heating plant, power transformer, switchboard, and dressing rooms. The building, constructed of steel, brick, concrete frame, and tile, was advertises as being fireproof upon its completion.

The Cedar Street, or primary, facade is divided into three bays by pairs of stone pilasters with Egyptian-inspired capitals. The larger, center bay projects slightly and is further divided into three sections by single pilasters which separate metal casement windows on the 2nd floor level. The two bays which flank the projecting central bay are symmetrical and feature bands of metal casement windows at the 2nd and 3rd floor levels. The face brick on this facade is laid in a basket weave pattern which further enhances the formality of the theatre’s street appearance. The frieze, cornice, and parapet, all executed in stone, serve to band the three bays and display modest ornamental details. Medallions located on the frieze accentuate the pilasters below. Above the dentilled cornice and centered on the parapet are two decorative stone lyre panels. At the street level, carerra glass panels and ceramic tiles have been applied over the original cast stone wall material and transform windows.

Small commercial storefronts occupy each corner of the Cedar Street facade of the Rialto building and flank the recessed Theatre entrance. This outer lobby features a multi-colored tile floor and tile wainscotting. The projecting ticket booth is also roofed in tiles which provide a nice contrast to the four pairs of stained wood entrance doors. These oak doors have nine beveled-glass panes above a single wood panel and all originally featured brushed stainless steel hardware in a curvilinear, deco-like style although only one of these remains today. The final decorative element in this outer lobby is a band at the cornice line of plaster swags of garland divided by shields. Highlighting and sheltering the outer lobby is the original marquee. This sign along with the corner sign used 1,500 light bulbs to attract and inform local patrons.

The east, or secondary, facade is relatively unadorned. Stone ornamentation on this elevation is modest, with the exception of a bay at the northeast corner that replicates the Cedar Street window patterns and details. The street level alterations to the front facade were not continued on this elevation, thereby exposing the building’s original ground level appearance. The east facade contains four pairs of exit doors in addition to stage and equipment doors. All of these are accentuated by stone or brick arches which encase the doors, exterior lighting fixtures, and decorative basket weave brickwork above the doors.

The Rialto interior is nothing short of elaborate. Here ostentation and creature comfort were the standard. A double stairway leads from the inner lobby to the balconies. Theatre offices, as well as an elaborate lounge with men’s smoking room and ladies' restrooms, occupy a portion of the 2nd floor. Inside the main auditorium velour draperies, originally red buy now blue, are hung in arched panels and intended to deaden noise. Underlying the draperies of each wall panel is a layer of Oxite, which is a padding said to prevent reverberation of sound. The lower part of the auditorium walls are finished in travetine stone and separated from the balustraded upper panels by a band of wave molding. The vaulted ceiling is covered with Celotex to further insure proper acoustics and is painted blue. Plaster arches span the ceiling and lighting fixtures are suspended from plaster rosettes. The proscenium opening is decorated with classically-inspired plaster moldings and details. Ornate screens which mask the sound amplification system flank the stage. The stage itself measures 32 feet deep by 63 feet across – ample room for the presentation of larger road shows.

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