November 23, 2016
From the News-Review: A theater in Sault Ste. Marie is preparing to be restored to its 1930s glory through a $7 million capital campaign.
The Soo Theatre Project is receiving support from the Sault Ste. Marie Downtown Development Authority, which pledged their resources and connections Wednesday to help complete the project in conjunction with the Sault’s 350th anniversary in 2018, the Evening News of Sault Ste. Marie (http://bit.ly/2fS4VTK ) reported.
The authority’s director, Justin Knepper, said the project is getting closer to launching a capital campaign. Through grant matching and money raised from a summer concert series, there’s $70,000 in an account that can be used only for repairing the theater’s failing roof.
“People are excited and there’s people talking about it,” said Knepper. “With our movie theater being gone, the Soo Theatre has been playing movies. There’s a lot more people going in there saying, ‘What the heck? Why isn’t this thing fixed?’”
An architectural rendering in 2014 estimated it would cost nearly $7 million to restore the theatre to its original Spanish castle theme. A further estimate indicated the exterior and roof would be $650,000.
“We pretty much have the entire detailed package ready to go in terms of starting a fundraiser process from a scientific standpoint,” said Knepper.
He said 2018 could be the year the Soo Theatre restoration is made possible.
“Maybe construction starts or we hit our goal with the fundraiser,” said Knepper.
November 15, 2016
From wtov9.com: Work continues on the Grand Theater’s original pipe organ.
Every saturday, volunteers meet in Steubenville to restore the music maker.
The “Wurlitzer” dates back to 1924 when it was used to provide a soundtrack for silent films.
“We really want to bring it back to celebrate what Steubenville was and the pipe organ is one of the coolest things that we’ll have back here,” Scott Dressel with the Grand Theater Restoration Project said. “It’ll make a lot of noise when it’s ready.”
The project is expected to be finished between Christmas and May 2017.
As a fundraiser, individuals and businesses can sponsor a pipe.
November 14, 2016
From Our Time Press: In the pioneering spirit of barn-raising, The Black Lady Theatre at 750 Nostrand Avenue in Brooklyn is being renovated. Leading the extensive rehabilitation are Clarence, Jr. 2X and Omar Hardy, the father and son team who dedicate themselves to realizing the wishes of the deceased Supreme Court Judge John L. Phillips.
The theater encompasses much of the 5,325-sq.-ft. lot. The 500-seat theater space is located in the basement where carpenters have recently installed a new wooden stage. The balcony and lobby are on the first floor and the conference area is on the second floor. Omar Hardy explained, “The plan is to build two additional floors. The roof will hold a garden and an event space”.
This project comes together through a friends-helping-friends construction process. Mark “The Builder” Douglas is the construction manager. Douglas is a licensed and insured electrical contractor who secures the subcontractors. Douglas explains, “The objective is to uplift our people to be self-sufficient. Professionalism, being on time and qualified are essential”. Douglas brought on Sheldon Douglas, who is a carpenter, and CSGN Contracting’s Johnny E. Robayo, a glass and façade contractor. It is Robayo’s installation of the glass front that achieves the visual impact of the rebirth of “The Black Lady”.
Given the low level of financing, the team has relied heavily on volunteer labor. For example, Omar’s younger brothers, Devon and Isaiah Howard, do “soup to nuts…from site preparation to finishing”.
The marketing firm Open House New York promoted the grand reopening weekend of October 15-16, 2016 free of charge. Standing in front of the gleaming glass doors that reveal many murals in the lobby, Mark Douglas estimates the work will be completed by December 2016. To mark this milestone, the Hardys and Douglas are in preliminary discussions with the producer of “Oz Comes to Brooklyn”. Douglas gives the last Sunday in December as the tentative performance date.
“I was born for this task and my father always wanted to do business with his family,” muses Omar Hardy. He believes getting to this point where the public can see the theater is coming back to life is due to “remaining on our square and staying true to the mission”.
The complete development team includes Clarence, Jr. 2X Hardy, Omar Hardy, Administrator Christie Williams, Construction Manager Mark Douglas and Byron Wilson. Wilson does not state his title. Rather, Wilson explains his plan to “establish renewable energy technologies that take the premises off the grid”. Wilson estimates the cost amounting to $10,000.
Further, Wilson intends to use smart building procedures. He plans to set up solar canopies and an aquaponic greenhouse that grows food. Wilson asserts, “This will be a farm-to-table operation where we sell to local bodegas. The aquaponic greenhouse uses the waste of tilapia fish. The fish itself will not be sold for consumption”.
Between April and October 2016, the team has accomplished clearing the theater of rubbish. “We’ve filled 20 containers with trash. We financed the carting company’s services through fundraisers. One hundred bags of rubbish were picked up by the NYC Sanitation Department,” explains Hardy.
This reporter had a sit-down interview with Omar Hardy on October 27, 2016. In preparation of the meeting, records within the NYC Finance Department, Buildings Department and the Environmental Protection Department on the premises were reviewed.
Q: Has your organization contacted Brooklyn Community District Office No. 8 to request to make a presentation before the community or to just leave event notices at community board meetings?
Hardy: Information drop-offs would be done through Zulika Bumpus (another team member). I’m not sure whether the event notice was left at the district office or at a general meeting. I recognize that I should present to the community what is happening at The Black Lady Theatre.
Note: Zulika Bumpus was contacted by telephone and e-mail on October 27, 2016 to inquire about outreach to local high schools, houses of worship and Brooklyn Community District Office No. 8. Bumpus explained on the telephone that she was leaving for an event and has not answered the e-mail.
Q: Have you contacted any local houses of worship to notify them about the rehabilitation occurring at the theater?
Hardy: We haven’t had contact with the local houses of worship. As far as having them know about the rehab, No. We’ve reached out to individuals, organizations and anyone who I believe should know. I’ve been thinking in terms of after the construction is completed and the place is ready for rental.
In all, the Q-and-A session was driven by 13 questions. It was revealed the development team’s community outreach was limited due to the decision to postpone community outreach until after the construction is complete. They have not communicated with Crown Heights North Association (CHNA). This organization has a successful track record of historic landmark district designation. Given the artistic and historic value of this theater, developing a strategic alliance with CHNA would be prudent. From April 2016 to October 2016, the work consisted of site preparation, painting, glass front installation and floor tiling. Hardy could not say which floor would be 75% complete by December 31, 2016.
The types of trades that have been on-site at any given time include security (provided by a private company and internal surveillance), electricians, carpenters and a plumber.
A New York City research agency uncovered two critical conditions: 750 Nostrand Avenue, Block 1240, Lot 38 was part of an assignment of a tax lien, document date April 30, 2016, where Party 1 is Bank of New York Mellon and Party 2 Bank of New York Mellon. A Tax Lien Sale Certificate was entered into record on August 10, 2016. Mr. Hardy acknowledges, “The tax issue needs to be handled. It is part of the reason for his focus on completing key rehabilitation areas”.
“Opening the doors to the community is critical [because] it permits us offering programs to the community that generates revenue” may be a guiding mantra that Omar Hardy keeps in the forefront of his mind. In view of this direct action, it behooves this committed team to direct its legal counsel to respond to the property vesting action.
November 11, 2016
From The Athens Review: A clean-up, preliminary to construction at the Texan Theater location is underway this week.
Athens Community Development Manager Thanasis “Nasi” Kombos said the current work is clean-up.
“They’re doing some clean-up inside the theater,” Kombos said. “They’ll be wrapping up around the middle part of next week.”
It will be after the first of the year before any construction begins on the project.
“The architect is working right now on the construction documents, which are anticipated to be completed at the end of January,” Kombos said. “Assuming that funding is secured for the project, at that point, I would anticipate that we will be moving with construction.”
David Chase of ArchiTexas told the Athens City Council in October construction of the project should last another nine months, making completion of the theater about a year away.
The remaining structure of the theater, built in the 1940s, will be part of a new venue. But once patrons walk past the restored Texan sign, the venue will be quite different from the movie theater where a couple of generations of Athens area residents went for entertainment.
The original Texan Theater had a sloping floor. The new venue will have a flat floor to make it more for multi-purpose use. The type of roof chosen was an enclosed overlapping structure. A mezzanine section will be located above the restrooms. Once imagined as an outdoor venue, it will now be enclosed and air conditioned.
The south side of the building, where the neon Texan sign was located, will still be the main entry, but access will be possible from the back. The back masonry wall will be taken down, and replaced by a glass wall. A roll-up door will be located at the back.
November 7, 2016
From Thurston Talk: There is something magical about the glow of a Marquee sign. It brings fond memories of soda fountains and the golden age of Hollywood. If you grew up in the area, you may remember when the historic Fox Theatre lit up South Tower Avenue in Centralia. Nestled in amidst the old shops, it was a hub of activity when it opened in 1930 as part of the Fox West Coast Theatre chain. At the time, it was a 1,200 seat art-deco theatre that ran as a movie theater until 1999. But then the films stopped. The marquee went out, darkening the entire street. It was a stark reminder against the skyline that the city had seen better days.
Almost a decade later, in 2008, Scott White moved back home to Centralia with one goal in mind: to do something about the darkened theater. He founded the non-profit Historic Fox Theatre Restorations and has been the President of the Board of Directors ever since. This is a 100-percent volunteer position for him.
“After spending 20 years working in the entertainment industry, I hoped to use some of the experience I gathered along the way to make the project a success,” Scott says. “Having grown up in Centralia, the Fox Theatre was a very important part of my childhood and was the beginning of a lifelong love of theater and movies.”
The group’s ultimate goal is a complete restoration of the building, inside and out, to its former 1930s glory. But, Scott, says, this doesn’t mean it won’t be able to handle today’s needs when it comes to technology.
From The Buffalo News: A historic commercial building that was once part of Shea’s Seneca Theatre in South Buffalo is now destined for reuse, with developer Jake Schneider planning a mix of apartments, a theatre and performance art space in the 88-year-old structure.
Schneider Development on Monday said it wants to spend $9 million to renovate the vacant and underused property at 2178 Seneca St., restoring its original architecture and bringing the building back to life as part of the latest adaptive reuse project in the city, and particularly along Seneca Street.
“We’re very excited about the neighborhood. It’s a well-established and proud community with great assets to build upon,” he said. “It is our hope that this project will serve as a catalyst for the revitalization of the Seneca Street commercial corridor.”
Located at the intersection of Seneca and Cazenovia streets, near Cazenovia Park, the historic two-story brick building was originally constructed in 1929 by well-known regional cinema icon Michael Shea, who built Shea’s Buffalo downtown, the North Park Theatre in North Buffalo, and several other iconic movie and entertainment houses that have since been demolished. With 2,500 seats, Shea’s Seneca was once said to be the largest community theater in the city, and grandly featured a colored marble lobby, ornamental plaster and arched windows. It also had a Wurlitzer theater organ, which was played on opening night in 1930 during the showing of The Mighty.
October 30, 2016
The state of Indiana is kicking in $50,000 to help pay for restoration of the historic Town Theatre in Highland.
The lieutenant governor’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs and Office of Tourism Development announced Thursday they are providing the money as part of a matching grant program that promotes quality of place improvements across the state.
“The intent of this fund is to reward creativity and resourcefulness,” said Mark Newman, state tourism director. “The impact to quality of life and ultimately tourism will be great.”
October 26, 2016
From The Chicago Tribune: An historic downtown Lockport theater could soon be getting a face-lift to help restore it to its former glory.
City officials recently discussed awarding a $10,000 grant to the owner of the Roxy Theatre building to pay for some of the renovations.
“I know we’re all excited to see it happen,” Mayor Steve Streit said during Wednesday’s Committee of the Whole meeting.
The grant would go toward helping with a facade improvement project costing more than $50,000. The project would include a new marquee sign with a design that had to be approved by the Heritage and Architecture Commission because the building is in the historic district.
October 14, 2016
From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Imagine sipping a hand-crafted cocktail with the iconic Fox marquee glimmering behind you as you overlook the hustle and bustle of Atlanta’s Peachtree Street. Come fall 2017, it won’t just be a dream.
The Fabulous Fox Theatre’s renovation of a 10,000-square-foot event space into the new Marquee Club lounge and rooftop marks its most significant expansion and its biggest financial undertaking since the popular theater opened in 1929.
Patrons will have access to the club’s five bars: one on the main level of the club, one on the mezzanine level and three on the rooftop.
With a server-to-guest ratio of 10-to-one, line-busting technology and intermission pre-ordering, members will be able to enjoy their shows with ease.
The club will also offer hors d’oeuvres, self-serve desserts and coffee. Additional amenities include private restrooms, coat check and a dedicated lobby elevator for club patrons.
The intricate Moorish grillwork and color palette of muted gold and earth tones throughout the club were chosen with the historic building in mind, Adina Erwin, Fox Theatre’s vice president and chief operating officer, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The Fox was our muse,” she said.
A hint of blue brings in the element of the sky and the Fox star can be found on both the carpeting and on the club’s main level ceiling.
October 11, 2016
From The Santa Barbara Independent: Each winter when the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) takes over downtown, our seaside town’s movie houses hum with a whir of films, panel discussions, and celebrity events. It’s good fun and great fare, but it doesn’t end when the festival packs up –– SBIFF is a year-round experience offering educational programs, Wave mini-festivals, and weekly showcase films at their recently acquired Riviera Theatre.
In an effort to enhance its roster of offerings, SBIFF has begun a fundraising effort, deemed the Capital Campaign, which will allow it “to expand [its] current slate of education programs, preserve an important historic landmark, enhance the communal theater experience, and create a cultural hub for all things film,” according to a recent press release. More than $2 million has been raised so far, with the goal of $5 million by March 2017.
A face-lift for the Riviera is scheduled to begin January 2017 with a spring completion date. In addition to theater restoration, a new balcony lounge will be built that will serve as a space for SBIFF gatherings and receptions come the 2018 festival. Other planned changes include a classroom, world-class sound and projecting systems, a loop system for the hearing impaired, and improved heating and air conditioning.
With the Riviera Theatre as its base, the SBIFF now has the opportunity to expand its already existing educational programs — such as its youth programs, AppleBox Family Films and Mike’s Field Trip to the Movies — as well as create new offerings. “Our capital campaign and expansions to the Riviera Theatre mark an important new chapter in our festival’s history,” said festival executive director Roger Durling. “These renovations and improvements will allow us to serve Santa Barbara in new and exciting ways and will bring us closer together as a community.”
For more information and to contribute to the campaign, see sbiff.org/riviera.