Lompoc Theater restoration ready to begin

posted by philbertgray on November 29, 2007 at 5:45 am

LOMPOC, CA — The 1927 Lompoc Theater (population approx. 40,000) kicks off its official restoration project in January or February with a completion target of 12 to 18 months and a cost of approximately $9.2 million dollars.

The theater shut its doors in the 1980s after a steady decline in attendance that had begun in the 1970s. Luckily the family who owned the theatre held onto the property, renting out second-floor offices. When the Lompoc Housing and Community Development Corp. first considered restoration in 2002, the initial concern was the building’s physical viability. Fortunately Earl Calvert who originallly built the theater put the same care into the building as he did the business. Reinforced poured concrete supports made major seismic retrofitting unnecessary. Unlike some theaters, it had never been remodeled into a multiplex or swap meet.

One question facing preservationists was whether to go with the 1927 original or a 1957 remodel, which at 50 years old is also considered historic. In the end it will be a mix, said Ehrlich, noting that preservation officers were delighted by a mirror at the popcorn stand painted with dancing clowns bearing refreshments.

Being eligible for the National Register of Historic Places contributes more than cache; federal Historic Preservation Tax Credits will cover $1.6 million of project costs.

An article on the restoration can be found at the Pacific Coast Business Times.

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