September 12, 2016
From The Fresno Bee: The Hanford Fox Theatre, one of the jewels of the central San Joaquin Valley, is shining brighter than ever following a two-year restoration that cost nearly $4 million.
The rehab took place under the watchful eye of Dan Humason, a believer in historic preservation and owner of the building that he says “owns me.”
With the theater open again, the stage that hosted BB King, Red Skelton, Bob Hope, the Smothers Brothers, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss and Brooks and Dunn is ready for live performances.
The Fox opened as a movie palace and vaudeville stage in 1929 and grew into a Hanford institution where big-name entertainers perform and local organizations hold private events.
Next door to the Fox is Lush wine bar owned by Lindsey Oliveira, who grew up in Hanford and fondly remembers watching movies and shows there.
Her business has benefited from Hanford Fox foot traffic, she said.
September 8, 2016
From MLive: The historic State Theatre in downtown Ann Arbor is getting ready to undergo a major restoration and transformation.
The movie house at 233 S. State St. will show its last midnight film this Saturday, Sept. 10, followed by a handful of additional film screenings next week, before closing for renovations for eight to 12 months.
The city’s Planning Commission voted Wednesday night, Sept. 7, to approve the plans, which include constructing a 2,000-square-foot addition on the south side of the building where there’s an alley enclosed behind double doors.
The addition, measuring 7.7 feet wide and 88.5 feet deep, will fill in the alley and house a new elevator, which is just one of a number of upgrades planned. The Michigan Theater Foundation is undertaking a large-scale interior and exterior renovation of the State Theatre to restore its art deco look and feel in conjunction with its 75th anniversary in 2017.
That includes restoration of the iconic marque and facade along State Street, as well as converting the two-screen theater into a “one-of-a-kind cinema space” with four smaller screening rooms, more comfortable seating and more leg room.
The project includes restoring and refreshing the art deco design of the entrance, lobby and restrooms as well.
The theater is in the State Street Historic District. The city’s Historic District Commission already signed off on the project, which has support in the form of funding from the Downtown Development Authority and private donors.
The theater was originally designed by architect C. Howard Crane, who also designed the Fox Theatre in Detroit.
Construction began in 1940 and the State Theatre opened in 1942. The first floor was originally clad in red structural glass panels.
From DNA Info: It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated movie premieres of the year — the return of the Davis Theater.
The cinema, 4614 N. Lincoln Ave., has been closed since January for a multimillion-dollar makeover.
The opening date is now looking like November, according to owner Tom Fencl, who’s aiming to have the Davis up and running in time for the holiday season.
Ben Munro, operating partner at the Davis and its new companion restaurant/bar Carbon Arc, provided a recent behind-the-scenes tour.
Stadium seating is taking shape in the Davis' two front theaters (labeled Theater One and Theater Three) and meticulous restoration work is progressing on the main theater (aka, Theater Two), which is being returned to its Art Deco glory.
September 7, 2016
From Curbed NY: Some good news for Park Slope residents: The Pavilion, the neighborhood’s last remaining movie house, will be preserved and transformed into a Nitehawk multiplex theater with seven screens, 650 seats, two bar areas, and in-theater dining, reports the New York Times.
The theater has a long history of changing hands—and names, for that matter. It debuted in 1928 as the Sanders, but that iteration shuttered in 1978. The theater reopened in 1996 as the Pavilion, eventually expanding to nine screens in the early 2000s. Over time, the theater lost its appeal as its upkeep exhibited less than ideal characteristics—bedbugs, crummy seats, and the like.
In 2011, Nitehawk cinema founder Matthew Viragh began discussing the possibility of converting the Pavilion with Hidrock Properties, who owns the site, but determined that the timing just wasn’t right. Hidrock later decided to convert the theater into a six-story condo building with a three or four-screen theater, an option that proved unfavorable with the community. That plan has since fallen through, with Nitehawk poised to take over the space. This will be the second theater under the theater company’s umbrella (in addition to its original Williamsburg outpost), and will be dubbed Nitehawk Prospect Park.
Steven J. Hidary, whose family owns Hidrock, told the Times, “we had to decide, do we build condos or do we save Brooklyn? So we saved Brooklyn.” There are currently no plans to bring condos of any sort to the site.
“This is a victory for community activism and partnership,” said City Council member Brad Lander, a longtime advocate for the cinema’s preservation. “When we heard about plans to eliminate the theater, we spoke up loud and clear. Together with neighbors, we pushed to save the theater, and make sure any renovation/development respected the historic character of the neighborhood.”
The $10 million renovation project is slated to begin around the end of October and wrap up around early fall 2017.
September 1, 2016
From Fox 8 Cleveland: The iconic giant dome movie theater at the Great Lakes Science Center is about to get a makeover.
According to a press release, the Science Center’s Cleveland Clinic Foundation OMNIMAX Theater will close after the last movie of the day Sept. 5.
It will remain closed until mid-October, when it will reopen as the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Dome Theater, featuring the world’s first giant dome cinema laser system.
The renovations will include all new seats and carpeting.
The new three-projector, laser-illuminated projection system will replace the current projector that has been in place since the Science Center opened in 1996.
The name of the theater is changing to reflect the end of the usage of the film-based OMNIMAX system. The naming rights are being retained by the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.
From Long Island Business News: A father and son are purchasing a movie theater in the heart of Babylon village and converting it into a performing arts and education space.
Mark Perlman and his son Dylan Perlman, through their company Main Street LLC, are investing more than $1.6 million to refurbish the existing abandoned building on West Main Street, whose first floor is 7,727 square feet and second floor is 5,801 square feet. The building most recently housed a Bow Tie Cinemas. The new space will be converted in an indoor entertainment venue to include comedy shows, productions, concerts and more.
The building, which officials say sat vacant for nearly two years, will also house a tuition-based education program. This program includes training for actors and stagehands and for those wanting to study sound engineering, theater lighting, production and more. Mark Perlman comes from an education background, while Dylan is a working actor.
Originally a single theater, the building was later altered to have three screening rooms. Upcoming renovations will include a new stage and improved acoustics. The Perlmans also plan to tear down walls and increase the seating from 549 to 700. Possible additions include drop-in screen for movie nights, and a bar – the company is applying for a liquor license.
Babylon Industrial Development Agency CEO Matthew McDonough said his organization has worked with Main Street LLC for about a year, with involvement in planning, zoning, and architecture boards, as well as in working with the town, county and village government.
The project is appealing in both an “economic development and community development” sense, McDonough said.
“The South Shore downtowns – Bay Shore, Patchogue – a large part of their success is because they have a theater,” he pointed out.
“A packed show,” he added “would mean people would be in the streets, visiting local restaurants.”
The venue would bring 15 to 18 full time jobs, and additional part-time jobs.
In working with the IDA, the company would receive property tax abatement of $234,250 over the course of 12 years. The company would get $16,800 in mortgage tax recording exemptions, and a maximum of $86,000 in sales tax savings.
August 30, 2016
From Curbed Los Angeles: Just about a year ago, Broadway’s Globe Theatre reopened after a $5 million renovation that began in 2011. Now, the 1913 Beaux-Arts building that houses the theatre will get a makeover of its own. Developer 740 South Broadway Associates, LLC submitted plans to the city Wednesday calling for facade improvements and a zoning change for the structure that would allow its conversion to residential use.
Yes, the historic theatre, which now operates primarily as a night club and swanky event space, will be getting some new upstairs neighbors. Kate Bartolo, who is consulting with the developer on the project, tells Curbed that the building’s 10 upper floors—unoccupied since the 1980s—will be converted into 47 units of live-work housing. The project will also include the addition of two small street-level bars, a rooftop deck, and an amenities lounge within a small penthouse unit that has evidently been a popular spot for taggers over the years. The building’s lobby, long occupied by retailers, will be fixed up and converted back to its original use.
The developer is working with a restoration company and historic preservation consultant to refurbish the building’s facade. This includes the restoration of prism glass transom windows above the ground level, the removal of non-historic storefronts and sliding metal grates along Broadway, and the repair of brick and terra cotta features on the building’s upper levels.
Bartolo hints that the Morgan, Walls & Morgan-designed structure could also get its own rooftop sign somewhere down the road—in keeping with so many other historic buildings in the Downtown area. That sign would probably read “Garland,” which is the building’s official name. According to Downtown News, that’s after William Garland, the original developer of the property.
Mostly, Bartolo says, she’s excited to see decades of grit and grime erased from the stately facade. “It’s really gonna pop now,” she says.
August 19, 2016
Charleston, IL – Willstock music festival to raise money for (Will Rogers) theater’s restoration, rehabilitation efforts
From The Daily Eastern News: In its heyday, the Will Roger’s Theater was a local hot spot for Big Bands and movies.
Now, the theater, located in the heart of Charleston, awaits restoration.
The “Willstock” music festival, set to take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at Kiwanis Park, aims to benefit these rehabilitation efforts.
Funds raised from the festival will go to this project.
Though admission is free, donations will be accepted throughout the day and evening.
According to the festival’s website, organizers have raised over $30,000 of their $100,000 goal.
Earl Halbe, the president of the project board, said the community is committed to the project.
Halbe said the board’s vision for the theater once it is restored is to not only host independent film festivals and performances but to also offer a stage for Eastern and Charleston High School students.
“Will Rogers [will be] an economic anchor,” Halbe said. “[Once opened] it and the other storefronts on the block will make several jobs available, and it’s great for Charleston.”
Halbe said though the damage looks bad on the outside, the original art deco lights and features on the walls in the theater are still there as well as the original orchestra pit.
It is the only theater in the area that has an orchestra pit, Halbe added.
“People think it’s falling apart on the inside, but it’s in fair condition,” Halbe said.
The theater first opened in 1938 and the adjoining commercial block, containing four storefronts, were completed several years later.
However, the theater and four storefronts were sold in 2010, and the new owners did not finish the task of re-opening it, Halbe said.
“What we want to do is involve the entire Charleston community,” Halbe said. “We hope to, within reason, to make it exactly the way it was.”
According to a press release, The Will Rogers Theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and was designated a Landmark Property by the city of Charleston in 2011.
It was also placed on the list of the ten most threatened historic sites in 2011.
“Of course it will take some years to be accomplished but we can get it started,” Halbe said.
The festival will host several performances including headliner Charlotte Martin, a Charleston native and Eastern alumna, who has recorded several major label and independent record albums, according to Willstock’s Facebook page
Jackson, MI – Installation process begins for 1,000 new seats in historic Michigan Theatre of Jackson
From Mlive.com: While it may eventually be moved from where it’s positioned now, employees worked on installing the first new seat at the historic Michigan Theatre of Jackson on Thursday.
The other 999 seats will be installed before the end of the fall, said Michigan Theatre Executive Director Steve Tucker. They replace 1,559 red velour seats that were installed around 1951.
August 16, 2016
From the Oakland Press: One of Pontiac’s oldest performance venues is scheduled to reopen its doors on December 1 after $20 million worth of renovations and rebranding.
The Flagstar Strand Theatre for the Performing Arts announced the news during its “Choose Your Seat” event held on Thursday, August 11 at the historic Pontiac venue. Guests had a chance to reserve a seat in the theater for the next three years, priced from $500 to $2,500.
The event also served as a construction preview that showcased the renovations completed to the date. Guests were given a tour of the progress made in rebuilding the structure’s interior, which is nearly 100 years old.
“I’m blessed to be here,” said Kyle Westberg, owner of the Strand and developer in downtown Pontiac.
Aside from the estimated opening date, here is what we learned regarding the Strand’s progress.
- Slows BBQ will open in mid-November and operate seven days a week on its own separate schedule
The Strand will be adjoined to the first and only Slows BBQ location in Oakland County – the company’s fourth restaurant. Slows had previously been offered openings in other parts of Oakland County but turned them all down.
“Slows said yes to Pontiac 15 minutes after getting the Strand’s offer,” Westberg said.
The Detroit-based restaurant will serve their signature barbecue dishes including “The Yardbird,” their award-winning pulled and smoked Amish chicken sandwich, along with side dishes, craft beer and cocktail offerings throughout the theater’s bars, lounges and VIP areas.
- The venue will feature a mixed bag of performers
According to the Strand, ““Performers will include an eye-catching mix of national touring artists in Rock, R&B, Blues, Classic Rock, Country, Classical, Jazz and more in addition to touring Broadway, theatrical productions, comedy and family entertainment.”
- The Strand almost became another nightclub
According to Westberg, three buyers were interested in purchasing the theater in 2013. One of the interested purchasers wanted to turn the building, which served as a movie theater from the 1930’s to the 1960’s, into another downtown Pontiac nightclub like Elektricity or Tonic (now defunct).
Westberg’s company eventually won the bid and has been renovating the Strand in compliance with federal historic restoration processes that give tax breaks to the private sector for rehabilitating and reusing historic buildings.
- Movie screenings will take place in a small viewing room
Westberg said that community outreach is important to the Strand. The company plans to work with Oakland University and Pontiac Schools on concerts and theater productions that will benefit local students.
Westberg also envisions holding a weekly movie series for Pontiac senior citizens at little to no charge. A small room adjacent to the second level of the theater will have a movie projector installed for small movie viewings and business meetings.
- The theater will be an intimate performance destination for high-profile artists
The renovated Strand will accommodate up to 900 people. The room will feature oversized luxury chairs for added comfort across three levels of seating. Though no performances have been announced, President/CEO Bill Lee has been in talks with acts such as Celine Dion and Chris Rock for booking.