January 6, 2010
SPRINGFIELD, VT — In 2007, it was the site of the premiere of “The Simpsons Movie;” in 2008, an arsonist torched it. But now the Springfield Theater will be reborn as a modern triplex with nine apartments in the Ellis Block, the building that contains the theater.
But it’ll be another year before anyone can take in a movie downtown.
The theater and the rooming house above it, collectively known as the Ellis Block, remain boarded up.
Bill Morlock is executive director of the Springfield Housing Authority, the group that’s spearheading the project locally.
Read more at Vermont Public Radio’s website.
December 23, 2009
BRUNSWICK, GA — The Fox Theater Institute of Atlanta has awarded a $30,000 grant to this town’s historic Ritz Theater, and the city has matched it with an additional grant of the same amount. The funds will be used to replace badly deteriorated windows and other improvements. The Institute provides consultative services to theater restoration projects and funds two grant projects in Georgia each year.
During heavy storms last year, water ran from the Ritz Theatre’s top floor all the way to the ground floors. A third floor window frame disintegrated, letting its big glass pane crash to the floor.
It was clear. Repairs to the Ritz Theatre’s windows could not be delayed any longer.
Read more at Jacksonville.com.
December 9, 2009
OWOSSO, MI — At the November 30 meeting of the Owosso City Council, city officials announced that the Michigan State Housing Development Authority has approved the extension of the Vibrant Small Cities grant to the Owosso Community Players giving them more time to use the grant money to help rebuild the fire-gutted Lebowsky Center.
During Monday’s City Council meeting, officials announced the Michigan State Housing Development Authority approved the city’s request to amend a Vibrant Small Cities grant to allow additional time for the reconstruction of the facility, which City Manager Joe Fivas said gives the city “the ability to move forward.”
According to the letter from MSHDA, the city must have an environmental review and execute a construction contract prior to April 30, 2010, and the expenditure and reimbursement of funds must occur prior to Sept. 30.
The full details can be found in the Argus-Press.
November 4, 2009
LOS ANGELES, CA — The current owner of the Los Angeles and Palace theaters has committed to renovate the Palace and Los Angeles theaters on Broadway if the city will build a new parking facility between 6th and 7th streets.
The project, which would require another $2 million in tenant relocation and $31 million in pre-development and construction costs, would result in several hundred new spaces for uses along Broadway.
While Broadway has a number of parking garages, a recent study showed that these structures are near 100% occupancy during the day. Many close at night, and several structures have recently made exclusive arrangements with residential properties.
Read more at blogdowntown.com.
October 27, 2009
OWOSSO, MI — The Owosso Community Players, owner of the Lebowsky Center, hopes to have the theater, gutted by an arson fire (still unsolved) on February 14, 2007, enclosed again by winter. They are expecting an answer within a couple of weeks whether they would get a $350,000 to $400,000 grant to pay for enclosing the theater.
They are working with a construction company in Grand Rapids which restored the Wealthy Theatre there. The OCP is committed to completely restoring the theater which is estimated to cost $5 million to do.
Originally, OCP was hoping to reconstruct both the Lebowsky Center and the West Annex, but Peterson said the goal has narrowed.
“As we have refined the project, we feel that the priority is to rebuild the Lebowsky Center and that is the piece of the project we are focusing on,” Peterson said.
The grant’s approval would mean constructing a new roof and enclosing the center from the elements. The OCP has said it remains committed to a full restoration of the center – which is projected to cost about $5 million.
Additional info from the Argus-Press.
October 23, 2009
DANBURY, CT – The city of Danbury, CT has awarded a contract to JCJ Architecture to determine the cost of renovations to the Palace Theater which opened in 1926 and closed as a twin in 1995. The study will also provide a determination as to how best to operate the theater after renovations have been completed. JCJ and its associate, AMS Planning & Research Corp., have been involved in a number of theater renovation projects, including the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center and the New Amsterdam Theater in NYC.
And part of the firm’s larger team — AMS Planning & Research Corp. of Fairfield — has worked with many theaters in Connecticut and around the United States on theater management.
“We recognized from the beginning of this that no one firm could do everything,‘’ Elpern said of the combination of the two companies. "AMS has a wealth of experience on what’s needed to successfully operate a theater.‘’
Read more in the News Times.
October 16, 2009
WAYNE, NE — “Project Majestic” has been launched to completely renovate and re-open the town’s former Twin Theater (also known as and listed here on Cinema Treasures as the Gay Theater). Closed since 2008, the renovated theater will be re-born as single screen theater with a stage to host community events as well as films.
Initially, fellow steering committee member Reggie Yates said, plans were to clean up the theater, maybe give it some fresh paint, and reopen it. But people decided, no, they’d still be left with the same old theater with the same old seats and the same dirty floor.
So the committee decided that the 50-year-old building’s interior would get a complete makeover. The theater will be handicapped-accessible and seat about 100 people in front of a single screen. Moviegoers will be treated to the latest in digital projection and sound. The seats will have cup holders — the one feature nearly everyone has asked about, Yates said.
Read more in the Sioux City Journal.
October 2, 2009
BERKELEY, CA — As reported on August 18 plans to convert the UC Theater in Berkeley are moving along. Although the theater was never a “palace,” the new owners are preserving many architectural details according to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle, which includes some pre-renovation pictures.
Gone will be the dusty blue velvet seats, but the rest of the UC’s mish-mash decor will likely be preserved, Mayeri said. That includes the Egyptian Art Deco trim, the tulip murals and the ornate grillwork encasing the organ loft.
The 1917 building has already been seismically retrofit and outfitted with sprinklers, so most of the renovation work will be soundproofing and cosmetic, Mayeri said.
In the case of the UC, “cosmetic” is a broad term. Unlike other historic single-screen movie palaces around the Bay Area, the UC lacks many gleaming adornments and gilded flourishes. The theater was gutted in a fire in the 1940s and rebuilt with a decidedly spartan motif.
September 22, 2009
SIOUX FALLS, SD — Now used for live performances, the Sioux Falls Orpheum Theatre has replaced the former cinema’s 70s-era plastic-backed seats with new seats more reminiscent in design of those that were in place when the theater originally opened as a vaudeville house in 1913. Other improvements have been funded over the last five years. Restoration of the mural above the auditorium is also in the works. The 1926 State Theater has undergone roof repairs, tuck pointing and asbestos removal, and other upgrades, and the hope is that it will return as a cinema.
The latest upgrades to the Orpheum Theater will be unveiled today when it re-opens in downtown Sioux Falls, and the enhancements should give visitors a sense of what the venue looked like when it opened in 1913.
New seats in the historic theater are styled from the era, and improvements also include Vaudeville-like designed carpet and different shades of fresh paint accenting the turn-of-the-century architecture inside.
The theater’s rebirth reflects a five-year trend in downtown Sioux Falls as several other historic building restoration projects continue, including improvements at the State Theatre and the Coliseum.
There are pictures of the Orpheum and more details of the ongoing work at both theaters in this article from the ArgusLeader.
August 19, 2009
WEST BOUNTIFUL, UT — Despite a recent ownership change, new renovations are coming to the temporarily shuttered Gateway 8 Cinemas.
However, movie goers do not have to fear traveling to Salt Lake City for too long or worry about whether the theater will stay in its current location. Spencer Marsden, a former Bountiful resident and graduate of Bountiful High School, said the theater will remain intact.
“We’re renovating the whole thing,” he said.“"We want to create an environment in which customers have a memorable and fun experience at the movies.
“This theater is an integral part of the community, and we want it to be a place where families, couples, and people of all ages can go and have a great time from the moment they enter the theater to the moment they leave.”
Read the full story in the Davis County Clipper.