Preservation Alert

  • May 22, 2009

    Regent Theatre nearing demolition

    BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA — Brisbane’s iconic picture palace, the Regent, is one step closer to being gutted and redeveloped into an office tower and lobby. The Brisbane City Council development planning unit rubber stamped the development in a hasty meeting on May 12. Opposition requests to properly re-examine the plans were quashed by a majority vote. A bland token cinema of 300 seats and two 60-seat “auditoria/meeting rooms” is planned, as well as a huge car park in what was the original cinema box. These “cinemas” will only open on weekends and questions of viability and the lifespan of these areas remain.

    But the unique 1929 plaster ceilings and decorations in the current Showcase Cinema and adjoining bar area will be demolished, as the developers feel that this is not of any significance. The heritage listed gothic foyer and entrance lobby are protected by legislation, so the developers thankfully cannot touch those.

    The showcase and bar areas are all that remain of the grand auditorium of 2500 seats and give it a continuing aesthetic quality carried over with the 1980 conversion to a cineplex of 4 smaller cinemas. It is the favoured home of the Brisbane International Film Festival and they will now have to look elsewhere.

  • May 20, 2009

    BFA Thesis Film hopes to preserve the historic Ioka Theater on Film

    “Ioka” is a short, experimental documentary about Exeter, New Hampshire’s Ioka Theater. The film is directed by Kyle S. Glowacky, a BFA Film candidate at Emerson College. Emerson College’s School of Visual & Media Arts “encourages students to pursue a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, which is a more concentrated production curriculum culminating in a capstone project in their chosen medium."

    Glowacky was accepted into the BFA program in November of 2008 with a proposal to study motion in a place where motion had been exhibited for 93 years. Since the closing of the theater in December 2008, the film’s concept and scope has since been transformed and rearranged into variations about the projection of light, the physical space of the theater, and the myth behind its name. Glowacky hopes his film will help preserve the Ioka as a movie theater for another 93 years.

  • May 18, 2009

    Senator calls for meeting at the Senator

    BALTIMORE, MD — The media has reported in error that Baltimore City now owns the Senator Theatre.

    It has also been miss-reported that The Baltimore Development Corporation [bDC] will soon choose the new owner or operator of The Senator Theatre and determine its future entertainment programming through the RFP process.

    It is our understanding that the ownership of the landmark Senator Theatre will be determined by the outcome of an upcoming public auction, expected to take place later this summer. The successful bidder at the public auction will own The Senator. In an effort to separate fact from fiction regarding The Senator Theatre and its uncertain future, Maryland State Senator Joan Carter Conway, who represents the 43rd third legislative district, has called for a public meeting at the theatre in response to constituent concerns. The public information session will take place at The Senator Theatre on This Wednesday Evening, May 20th at 6pm
    Please help to spread the word!

  • May 11, 2009

    The Golden Gate Theatre is in danger

    EAST LOS ANGELES, CA — The Historic Golden Gate Theatre’s proposed future will be that of a “CVS Pharmacy with a drive-thru.” according to plans presented at a community meeting I attended May 6, 2009. Though it was stated that the developers would be sensitive to its historic value, reading the just released response of the LA Conservancy to the Environmental Impact Report, that doesn’t look realistic.

    The developers hope to have this project move forward this coming Wednesday by approval of their proposal by the County of Los Angeles. WE NEED TO STOP OR DELAY THIS. WE NEED TO SLOW THIS ROLL. THIS HISTORIC LANDMARK DESERVES BETTER.

    Your beautiful memories posted here attest to that. Please “step up” those of you who have posted what the Golden Gate Theatre has meant to you. It has been a family member with fond memories. Remember Her.

  • April 20, 2009

    State one step away from being demolished!

    OWATONNA, MN — The City of Owatonna will incur cost of razing State Theater!

    A proposal to demolish the State Theater took one more step forward on Tuesday, April 9, 2009.

    The theater has sat empty since 1996.

    If all goes according to plan, the current owners listed as Newco Theaters, Inc.,will donate the building and the land to the city of Owatonna. Then the city will pay for asbestos removal and city workers will demolish the building. After the theater has been razed, the city will sell the property to a buyer waiting in the wings, which plans to construct an office building in the Spring of 2010.

  • April 10, 2009

    Mekala Theatre faces demolition

    CHENNAI, INDIA — A local favorite for generations, the Mekala Theatre has closed and might be torn down.

    Movie buffs are unlikely to cheer as the curtains have finally come down at the Mekala theatre. For decades, it was a popular theatre
    for residents in Purasawalkam and Kilpauk.

    “I remember it being around even in 1958. Mekala is one of the oldest theatres,” said Film News' Anandhan. “It used to screen MGR films, and families used to throng the place. It had stopped screening films couple of years ago and was not listed as a theatre. It is sad that so many theatres are coming under the bulldozers,” he added.

    Read more at the Times of India.

  • April 7, 2009

    Baltimore city’s “Strategy Group” decides non-profit will not work

    BALTIMORE, MD — The group, formerly known as the ‘steering committee’, formed at the request of the mayor have finally made their recommendations.

    The Senator could not survive as a non-profit organization without an annual government subsidy. The alternatives:

    • Option 1: Baltimore City purchase the theatre by foreclosing on their loan, paying off 1st Mariner and then finding a management organization to run the theatre (either via sale or long-term lease, thereby recouping some of their outlay), still as a 1st run movie house.

    • Option 2: Allow 1st Mariner’s foreclosure to proceed and plan to “work closely” with whomever wins the bid. However, even they admit that they’d have limited say with this option.

    More on: Friends of the Senator.

  • March 25, 2009

    Save the State from being demolished!

    OWATONNA, MN — Located in downtown Owatonna, Minnesota, the State Theater is an Art Deco building that opened as a movie theater in 1935. The interior included a 35' high ceiling, four distinct arches, Art Deco sconces, 1000 seats, plush curtains and a vaudeville stage. Retail space exists on both sides of the main entry. The building was “modernized” through two separate renovations during the 1970’s and 1980’s, dividing the auditorium into three screens. The theater closed in 1996 and has been vacant since.

    Owatonna’s Main Street program was unsuccessful in finding an investor to bring the State back to life.

    The city of Owatonna’s Economic Development Authority recently gave its blessing to a proposal that may level the State Theater in downtown Owatonna.

  • Save the Odeon

    DONCASTER, SOUTH YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND — The fight is on to save the endangered Odeon Doncaster.

    Owners Lazarus Properties want to demolish the town-centre art-deco landmark and replace it with a £13million complex containing shops, eateries, a gym, a casino and offices. The Doncaster-based developer has now submitted a planning application for the 75,000 sq ft development.

    Lazarus said the scheme was vital for the future of the town centre and would act as a benchmark for future developments in Doncaster.

    However, a campaign group, Friends of Doncaster Odeon, is hoping that English Heritage will decide to grant listed building status to stop its demolition.

    Read the full story at the Doncaster Free Press.

  • March 23, 2009

    Anchorage’s 4th Avenue Theatre endangered again

    ANCHORAGE, AK — The 4th Avenue Theatre in Anchorage, an Art Moderne gem,is once again at threat.

    Alaskans are very close to losing the historic 4th Avenue Theatre in downtown Anchorage. Anchorage residents grew up attending movies at the 4th Avenue Theatre. The 4th Avenue Theatre will always hold a special place in many Alaskans hearts. Demolition or inappropriate redevelopment of Anchorage’s only historic theatre is unacceptable.

    A recent decision by the buildings current owner has effectively stalled the Municipality of Anchorage’s plans to restore and redevelop the theatre with the assistance of the Anchorage Downtown Partnership. In February 2007, a local architect was selected to conduct investigations necessary to prepare design and construction documents to restore the auditorium and public spaces of the 4th Avenue Theatre. The theater owner’s decision not to transfer ownership to the Anchorage Downtown Partnership has stalled the project.

    Interior photos and the rest of the story are at AIA.