Preservation Alert

  • August 5, 2002

    3 San Fran Theaters May Close

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA — The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the Regal Entertainment Group is looking to sell its leases at three prominent movie houses, the 1984-era Galaxy, and two vintage houses, the UA Alexandria and the UA Metro.

    Michael McCormac, who is handling the transactions, is quoted as saying that the “‘contracts are going back and forth,’ and if completed, the movie houses ‘probably would remain theaters for a period of time, then they would be 'bye-bye’.‘ … The Metro would probably be retail, and the Alexandria could be a combination (of retail and non-retail).’”

    According to the Chronicle, Regal “owns the lease at the Metro, the lease at the Galaxy and the Alexandria’s lease and property”. All three theaters have been on the market for the past year with deals for the Metro and Alexandria nearing completion.

    The shakeout is impacting other area theaters as they attempt to secure their future in a shaky exhibition market. Landmark “will temporarily close the Lumiere later this year for renovation, the Roxie is trying to build a second screen, and Century Theatres recently opened a high-end CineArts movie house in Palo Alto, where it took over a longtime Landmark space.”

    In other area news, the Park Theatre in Menlo Park is also slated to be closed and possibly torn down.

    (Thanks to Gary Meyer for this update.)

  • July 10, 2002

    Chicago’s Esquire Theatre Sold; Future Unknown

    CHICAGO, IL — The Esquire Theatre is slated to be sold next month to a real estate developer, according to the Chicago Tribune, and its future as a movie house is now anything but certain. The 1938 Art Moderne movie house is currently operated as a six-screen multiplex by Loews Cineplex.

    The sale to Mark Hunt for $13.5 million is scheduled to be completed in advance of a new 21-screen AMC megaplex opening nearby. The imminent doom of the remaining smaller movie houses in the area has already claimed the once popular McClurg Court and is now threatening the Esquire after almost 65 years of exhibition.

    There is still a chance that the Esquire could remain in operation and perhaps become the anchor for a larger retail and entertainment complex. Alternately, the theater may be torn down and converted for any number of uses including a hotel, office and residential space, or for retail use.

    We’ll keep you posted …

    (Thanks to Michael Garay and Bryan Krefft for the news.)

  • July 8, 2002

    Aero Theater Reportedly In Danger

    SANTA MONICA, CA — We’ve just received this report in from local resident Jody Hummer regarding the historic Aero Theater located on Santa Monica’s fashionable Montana Avenue:

    There’s a sign that says ‘Save the Aero’ on the Aero Theater in Santa Monica. The owner says Robert Redford [who grew up attending the Aero as a kid] and Sundance, who were reported to be interested in saving the theater for independent film, have “pulled out.” We don’t know the details yet.

    I stopped by yesterday and Chris, the operator, said the Aero is hanging on by a thread and may have to leave next month. If you are in the LA area, go see a film here soon or send letters of support to:

    The Aero Theater
    1328 Montana Ave.
    Santa Monica, CA 90403

    (310) 395-4990

    Built by the Donald Douglas Company in 1939, the Aero Theater was originally opened as a continuous 24-hour movie theater for aircraft workers who operated in shifts around the clock. It later became a beloved neighborhood theater and has anchored the now posh Montana Avenue section of Santa Monica.