November 6, 2007
LaGRANGE, IL — The LaGrange Theatre, now over 87 years old, is undergoing massive renovations. For quite sometime now, patrons have noticed that the theatre’s four auditoriums have been taken out of service one at a time to have new seats installed. But this is only the beginning of what needs to be done.
Per the theatre’s website, the building must be made ADA compliant and part of this includes installing new restrooms. The current restrooms are down a stairway. The theatre must also add new HVAC and also plans to add a new lobby and a new concession stand. Beyond this, the building must be brought up to modern code and the cost to do so is astronomical.
November 2, 2007
WEST SEATTLE, WA — No longer on the endangered theaters list, the Admiral Theatre is undergoing renovations to restore murals and make it an attractive venue for concerts as well as films.
For those who’ve lived in West Seattle in the past 60 or so years, the Admiral is faded, but still cherished — even as sprouting condominiums change the flavor of the neighborhood around the theater at California Avenue Southwest and Southwest Admiral Way.
But as the rest of the neighborhood marches forward, the theater is trying to return to its roots. The manager of the theater, Steve Garrett, wants to bring it back to its old glory and quirkiness. He plans to apply for grants and raise money to pay for the renovations, which will cost about $3 million.
The economics of the movie business won’t let him restore the theater to one big cinema. But he’s planning to give the Admiral new life by renovating it, so the theater will light up for comedy and music acts, not just darken for movies. Next year, Garrett said, he has a tentative agreement for B.B. King to perform there.
You can read the full story in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.
OWOSSO, MI — On Wednesday, October 24, a crane was used to remove the last remaining twisted beams over the balcony of the fire damaged and partially demolished Lebowsky Center. The Owosso Commmunity Players, which own the theater, plans to have the theater enclosed with re-constructed east, north and west walls, then a new roof. After that, interior work will be done as money allows. The work is being done by Sascon Construction of Owosso.
(Thanks to Gary for photo.)
OROVILLE, CA— Plans to restore the historic State Theatre have been in the works since 2005. The theatre will close November 7, 2008 for upgrades to heating, air conditioning and electrical. The theatre will reopen on January 17, 2009 with an 80th birthday celebration in April 2009. Long term restoration, including the original marquee are also in the works. The balcony, which has been closed, is included in the restoration plans. The theatre is relatively intact which will lesson the restoration needs.
A short article on the the Oroville State restoration can be found at the Chico Enterprise Record.
October 30, 2007
KANSAS CITY, MO — The Kansas City Star reported on Oct. 27 that the historic Armour Theatre in North Kansas City, Missouri will receive a tax abatement of $600,000 for renovation of the building—almost half the cost of the restoration.
The Star article reported:
The North Kansas City Council this week approved a redevelopment plan for the Armour Theatre building.
The redevelopment agreement calls for building owner Butch Rigby to receive property tax abatements over a 10-year period to help pay for the restoration. To allow the issuance of those tax abatements, the council officially declared the building a blighted property.
The Armour Theatre was also known as various times as the Centre and Paradise Theater. It seated between 650 and 700 people. It was most recently used as a live performance theater for a country and western music show called the Northland Opry.
Read more in the Kansas City Star.(link could close soon)
October 23, 2007
BANNING, CA — A little bit of the old and a little bit of the new is keeping this small town theater open to a loyal audience.
Michael Frydrych wants to see downtown Banning thrive.
His contribution to that goal is preserving the Fox Cineplex, the historic movie theater on Ramsey Street that Frydrych has owned for 12 years.
Frydrych has upgraded the 79-year-old theater by putting in new seats and updating the screens and sound system.
You can read the full story in the Press-Enterprise.
October 16, 2007
OWOSSO, MI — While work continues to prepare the Lebowsky Center for rebuilding, Owosso Police have a ‘person of interest’ in their ongoing arson investigation of that theater. But they are not yet ready to make an arrest. The Owosso Community Players which own the theater are working on a master plan for the theater. They said crews hope to get the new framework up by winter. While they can’t promise they will get a roof up by winter, it is certainly their goal.
While the OCP did get some insurance money, they are $100,000 short of their goal to pay for new walls and a new roof. The OCP has made significant progress in cleaning up the Lebowsky and surrounding buildings and are moving supplies back to the Hoddy Building which is behind the theater. Repairs to the portion of the Chemical Bank building donated to the OCP are almost finished and the two law offices on the second floor of that building plan to move back in shortly. That building will be called “the annex” and the OCP plans to have dinner theater and other events in that building.
October 12, 2007
HOHENWALD, TN — The 1940 Strand Theatre on Main Street is being restored and it will reopen in November 2007 primarily as a performing arts theater. The Strand moved from this location in 1948 to the Park Avenue location, where the theatre burned in 1963.
This building was converted to retail space. Most of the theatre-related interior items had been moved to the last location; however, when the dropped ceiling was removed, the original theater spaces, including decorative beams, were revealed. A projection booth wall and projector exhaust vent are also still visible. The front entry alcove has been reconstructed and the screen wall rebuilt.
Fund raising is underway to recreate the front marquee. The theater is in need of period 1939-1948 movie theater items, curtains and interior marquees. We have also not been able to locate any history on the Strand name. There were Strand theaters across the country. Was the Strand a chain name? Did it have a logo?
October 11, 2007
BOSTON, MA — The Modern Theatre will soon be renovated to house students on top of the theater portion. The long vacant building’s auditorium will have work done to it so it can be used as a performance space.
The Modern Theatre on Washington Street, where movies with sound were first shown in Boston, is going to become student housing for Suffolk University.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority yesterday approved Suffolk’s plan for a $35 million renovation that will preserve the Modern’s distinctive High Victorian and Gothic facade with its arching entrance, while erecting a modern 12-story tower with 180 to 200 beds above.
“We’re excited about restoring a little bit of Boston’s history to the Midtown Cultural District, as well as providing much-needed dorm space,” said John A. Nucci, Suffolk’s vice president for government and community affairs. “The building has been sitting idle and an eyesore for many years.”
Read more in the Boston Globe.
October 10, 2007
LEWISBURG, WV — With new owners, the Lewis Theatre has some exciting things in the works including renovations and adaptive reuse for live theatre.
With first-run classics such as “Gone with the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” as part of its storied history, new life is being breathed into the 68-year-old Lewis Theatre through a fresh set of owners with plans to renovate the Art Deco building for live theater, dance and other performing arts.
The 10,000-square-foot building, originally commissioned by the Yarid family, was recently purchased by Ann Davis and Lin Preston, both of Lewisburg, and Larry Levine of Hinton. The building had previously been owned by Barbara and Ed Spurlock of Maxwelton since 1990.
The trio calls itself ALL Arts and plans to scale down the current 500-seat theater to about 175 seats to make way for workshop space, a live theater stage and education classes, said Levine, an investment manager by trade. The dance group known as the Trillium Performing Arts Collective, a staple in Lewisburg arts for the last 26 years, has already committed to a long-term lease in the building, he said.
Read the full story in the Register-Herald.