Preservation Alert

  • June 14, 2007

    The Lorenzo Theatre finally on the way to salvation

    SAN LORENZO, CA — After long negotiations, The Lorenzo Theater Foundation, Inc. has signed a Purchase Agreement with owner Dr. Dharam Salwan, to acquire the Lorenzo Theatre.

    Under the terms of the agreement, the foundation has 14 months to raise the agreed upon price of $300,000 to purchase the theatre. After purchase, The Lorenzo Theatre Foundation plans to restore the building for use as a non-profit community arts center featuring classic films and local performances.

    The theatre houses Northern California’s first blacklight murals as painted by world-renowned muralist Anthony Heinsbergen. The Lorenzo Theatre is a California State Historic Resource and the first and only Historic Preservation District in Alameda County. It has also received a prestigious Art Deco Preservation Award from the Art Deco Society of California.

  • June 13, 2007

    El Rey can still be saved!

    CHICO, CA – The El Rey Theater, long thought to be doomed to become future office space, has recently been put back up for sale.

    Beautiful fairy murals, painted in 1948 in the Art Nouveau style, are still able to be restored, and the theater has great potential for restoration and a return to its former use.

    We need volunteers to form a group to save this incredible treasure. This second chance may be our last! Interested parties should contact Laura Urseny at the Chico Enterprise Record, 530 891-1234.

    (Thanks to Gary and Lisa for providing the picture.)

  • March 29, 2007

    Former Odeon Hartlepool to be finally demolished?

    HARTLEPOOL, ENGLAND — More than 25 years after this cinema showed its last film, the final curtain may come down on the Odeon. Apart from a brief spell as Joe Pools / Caesars Palace, the Odeon has remained out of use, slowly decaying.

    Now a report, commissioned by Hartlepool Borough Council has stated that there is no feasible re-use for the building or retention of its listed facade. The council is now looking at redevelopment of the site possibly for housing. A selection of photos showing the Odeon ‘then and now’ can be seen here.

    If demolition goes ahead, it will leave only 1 original cinema building in the town, the former essoldo, located only a few minutes walk away. This is currently in use as Carlton Bingo.

    (Thanks to James for providing the photo.)

  • March 15, 2007

    Last Curtain for doomed Odeon Cinema Manchester

    MANCHESTER, UK — Manchester Historian Eddy Rhead has failed in his attempt to get the last picture palace in Manchester UK listed under the UK’s Historical buildings register. Developers now have the green light to pull down the historic theatre and replace it with a 14 story office block. The Odeon started life as one of a handful of Paramount Pictures opulant UK cinemas.

    The full story and some then and now pictures go to theManchester Evening News

    Steve Lynch

  • March 8, 2007

    Fate of Unique uncertain

    SALIDA, CO — The City of Salida, Colorado will loan as much as $125,000 for two years to the new owner of the Unique Theater to stabilize the walls of the historic landmark by March 16 and remove the damaged roof by March 23, according to an agreement ratified last night (Mar 6) by city council.

    The back portion of the building, which contains the 650-seat theater, was condemned Feb. 8 when City officials and a structural engineer inspected and reported it was in, “imminent danger of collapse.” Adjacent property owners and businesses were warned and several have closed until the threat is lifted.

    Meanwhile citizens interested in saving the historic building have called a second meeting for 7 p.m. tonight (Mar 6) at Victoria Tavern, another 19th Century building within the City’s downtown national historic district. If the community will help raise money, the new owner said he would wait until August 15 to exercise his option to demolish.

    The City’s Historic Preservation Commission gave permission for partial demolition of the affected building following a well-attended public hearing Feb. 22.

  • March 6, 2007

    Odeon Cinema Newport

    NEWPORT, WALES, UK — The Odeon Cinema, which is officially owned by the NCLA (Newport City Live Arena) is currently being leased to Newport City Church, of which I am a member. This facility, wonderful as it is, is showing substantial decay. The roof is leaking in many areas and the building has no heating.

    It would be such a shame for this wonderful building to be sold to developers to make flats, when there are other possible uses for it. Members of the local community (including myself) would like it to become a centre for community education, arts, charity and programs for kids. A building this size needs some type of funding or enterprise to be able to pay for utilities and maintainence alone, of which the church does not have.

    Can someone help us preserve and possibly save this building from developers, and make it a centre the community is in much need of?

  • March 5, 2007

    Fight for the Alameda

    ALAMEDA, CA — With a possible megaplex in the works that would ultimately ruin the theater, Tonia De Paiva is leading a charge to save the Alameda Theatre.

    Tonia De Paiva strolls by the Alameda Theater — a cyclone fence surrounding its front, a cement mixer guarding its entrance, the sounds of collapse coming from deep inside — and it breaks her heart.

    Her beloved Alameda Theater, with its classic art deco interior, is being converted into one of
    those fancy-schmancy megaplexes with eight screens and an adjoining garage. All her
    precious memories are being bulldozed.

    It makes no sense to De Paiva, who’s trying to save her historic theater — built in 1932, closed in 1979 — from ending up the way of so many other movie palaces, knocked out by Blockbuster and Netflix.

    For the full story, go to the Mercury-Register.

  • March 2, 2007

    Save the Boyd!

    As you know, Friends of the Boyd are very concerned because Live Nation has put the Boyd up for sale. We don’t want Center City’s last movie palace to be sold to another real estate developer who might seek to demolish it!

    We’ve mentioned previously that Live Nation is also considering turning the Boyd into a House of Blues. Friends of the Boyd were happy with the restoration plans drawn up to restore the Boyd into a venue for Touring Broadway musicals, and that Live Nation was happy to accommodate our film series. However, if the theater becomes a House of Blues, Live Nation has not specified whether the Boyd’s original, historic Art Deco features would be fully restored, and if a film series would be accommodated. Friends of the Boyd have continued to offer to fundraise for the restoration.

    PLEASE TELEPHONE City Hall at 215-686-1776 and ask to be connected to Mayor Street’s office.

    The Mayor’s fax is 215-686-2180 if you would like to write a letter.

  • February 28, 2007

    Unique Theater Needs Help

    SALIDA, CO — The Unique Theater in Salida, Colorado may be destroyed to make way for another restaurant in the small mountain town. Recently, the theater was offered for sale due to structural concerns. During which time, the town council was approached requesting the 100-year-old theater be made into a historical landmark. The town council voted down the request giving the developer the possibility of destroying the theater portion while still applying for historical grants for the front area.

    The current owner of the theater, John Groy, does not want the theater to be torn down, but does not have the funds to keep it going. A developer in the area is the only one offering funds and “expects” he may have to destroy the 100-foot theater section. He plans to turn the front area into a possible nightclub or restaurant, and more than likely will not continue it as a theater even if the 100 foot section is saved.

  • February 21, 2007

    Mecca Bingo closures

    Mecca have announced that they are to close nine of their bingo clubs, eight of which occupy former cinemas, in advance of the UK smoking ban which comes into effect in July.

    They own the freehold of five of the clubs and those will be offered for sale, obviously with redevelopment as a strong possability. There is no likelihood that any of the buildings will make a return to cinema use.

    The former cinemas are believed to be:-
    Fulham – Gaumont Walham Green
    Islington – Carlton
    Hull – Carlton (or possibly the Cecil)
    Liverpool – Regal, Norris Green
    Swansea – Albert Hall
    Welling – Odeon
    Wolverhampton – Odeon
    Sheffield – one of three clubs to close, most likely the former Odeon Flat Street.

    A club in Reading is also to close but this not thought to be a former cinema

    To read more, go to Investegate.