July 13, 2016
From Curbed New Orleans: Wayward Owl Brewing announced last year they were taking over the old Gem Theater at 3940 Thalia St. in Central City, and now things are moving on the project. Canal Street Beat says the owner has filed plans for the renovation with the city.
July 12, 2016
From The Bluefield Daily Telegraph: For countless people, many fond memories are associated with the Granada Theater on Commerce Street in Bluefield.
If all goes as planned, countless more people will have the opportunity to create memories there.
That’s because a group of area residents interested in restoring the historic theater to its original glory, as well as preserving other structures in downtown Bluefield, made the effort to form an organization and get to work.
“It all got started with the decline of all the buildings downtown, and more specifically the Granada Theater,” said Bluefield Preservation Society (BPS) member Julie Hurley.
After the Colonial Theater was lost, she said, it became apparent to some of those who had those great memories of the downtown theaters that an initiative should start to save the Granada and other structures.
Interested residents came together, including Hurley, Debrah Ammar, Doris Kantor, Gail Satterfield, Skip Crane and Hal Gusler, among others.
“We formed in 2012 and began working with an architect to assess the building’s (Granada Theater) structural integrity,” Hurley said.
Bill Huber of Marion was the architect because he has extensive experience in renovating historic theaters, she said.
Achieving charitable organization status (501 3-C) status that same year, the group also started the process of applying for state and federal tax credits and for grants related to the work at the Granada.
The Development Authority of Greater Bluefield had purchased the theater at auction.
“The reason that the board purchased the building was to make sure that it is preserved,” authority member Charlie Cole said at that time. “We would like to see it preserved and become functional. The authority would like to see it become a functioning part of downtown.”
The BPS was ready to roll.
Fundraising efforts began to tackle the project, which will cost about $2.1 million.
Hurley said the group has sold more than 4,000 jars of organic blueberry jam to raise money.
Members also opened the Blue Moon Cafe just down the street from the theater to start raising money, with volunteers running the upscale, organic-based restaurant.
Crane said many may not know that the Granada, which opened in the early 1920s, was built for stage performances as well.
“It was built for vaudeville,” he said. “These were live productions and Bluefield was on that circuit.”
Kantor said that in its heyday, some famous people visited Bluefield, including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Greer Garson.
That history fits in well with plans for the theater, which at one time seated 1,106.
Hurley said the original slope a the back of the theater will be rebuilt for seating and the stage will be set up for both screening movies and staging performances.
A state-of-the-art sound system will be included.
In the balcony area, in what is basically the second and third floors, tables will be set up with a kitchen and restrooms.
“People can come to a dinner theater production and just sit in the balcony where they have eaten and watch or go to seats on the first floor,” Crane said, adding that the main floor will seat about 480 people.
But the upper two levels will remain in the architectural design of the theater everyone remembers, Hurley said, which is a strict requirement going through government channels for grants and tax credits when preserving historic structures.
The main level will look the same as it once did, she added.
Kantor said it will be a multi-use facility, providing a venue for performances and movie screenings as well as other functions that should attract people to the downtown area.
“We can’t bring back what was here (in the downtown area) 50 years ago,” she said. “But we can bring it back as a destination.”
The idea is, in the long run, to make the facility self-sustaining.
One of the ways to do that will be using the 5,000-sq.-ft. basement for kiosks.
“Plans are in the works to do that,” Hurley said, explaining that it will be set up where vendors can simply leave their products there and tagged. Someone will man the floor, collect the money, which will be shared with the vendor and facility, much like some antique and collectible kiosk-based businesses operate.
Two side rooms on the first floor at the entrance on each side of what was once the concession area can also be utilized and could include a museum.
Hurley said this project is moving along, and some may think no progress is being made because it is not yet obvious from the outside.
But grant and tax credit processes are long, and replacing the roof was time-consuming because the way it was built required the work to be done a certain way. The historic rehabilitation process with the state took time, and creating the construction documents did as well.
“You may not see it yet, but progress is being made,” she said.
“The process we have to go through behind the scenes is a lot of work,” Ammar, who is BPS president, said. “There is only so much we can do without the proper approval.”
Not only will the theater be restored, it will also have an original piece of the decor and ambiance – a Wurlitzer Style EX, Opus 1790, theater organ.
The organ left the Granada years ago and was taken to the Evans Theater in Indiana, and from there it was transferred to Huntington and installed at the Keith Albee Theater.
A mutual friend of Crane and Thomas Lester of Bluewell, former Bramwell resident Bob Edmunds, discovered the organ while teaching at Marshall University in Huntington. It became available when the Keith Albee’s original organ was found.
July 8, 2016
From MLive.com: Officials are ready to kick off renovations at The Capitol Theatre building with today’s announcement that Uptown Reinvestment Corp. and The Whiting have officially acquired the building.
The revamped theater is slated to reopen in Fall 2017.
The project, which will include complete modernization of the entire building and restoring historically significant elements of the facility, is expected to take 14 to 16 months to complete. With the updates comes all-new, state-of-the-art theatrical and production equipment, according to a Tuesday, July 5, news release from The Whiting and Uptown Reinvestment Corp.
Officials said previously that the project was expected to cost $21 million and includes renovations of 25,000 square feet of attached office and retail space.
“We are thrilled to be at this point and to begin field work on the restoration of this iconic arts and entertainment venue in Flint. More exciting still are the opportunities a reactivated, modernized Capitol Theatre will create for our entire community,” said Jarret Haynes, executive director for The Whiting.
Uptown Reinvestment Corp. will handle the redevelopment and restoration while The Whiting and its governing body, the Flint Cultural Center Corp., will manage operations, programming and marketing.
“The unique and complementary partnership between URC and the Flint Cultural Center, through The Whiting, demonstrates the broad support and commitment for this project, and bodes well for its ultimate and long term success, both artistically and in terms of economic benefits for Flint and the entire region,” said Tim Herman, president of Uptown Reinvestment Corp.
The theater will seat about 1,600, Haynes said previously. Built in Italian Renaissance style, one ceiling was designed after the outer vestibule of St. Peter’s cathedral in Rome, according to Flint Journal files, and interior walls recreate views of buildings that evoke old Italy.
The building also hosted a mishmash of live concert performances, including AC/DC, Ray Charles, John Mellencamp and Mel Tillis from the late 1970s until the theater portion of the building closed about 20 years ago.
July 7, 2016
From The Sacramento Bee: Chicken-liver mousse pairs well with Colonial American horror, it turns out.
The recently opened, five-screen Alamo Drafthouse New Mission Theater in San Francisco’s Mission District offers a food menu consisting mostly of easy-to-eat-in-the-dark items common to dine-in theaters, such as pizza and sandwiches. But we started our meal, consumed while watching the low-budget, 17th-century New England-set film “The Witch,” with the menu’s most gourmet offering.
Fanciness seemed in keeping with a 1916 theater that had just undergone a $10 million, four-year-long rehab to restore it to its former grandeur, after some inglorious years spent as a mattress storage facility. The New Mission marks the first foray into California by Alamo Drafthouse, the Texas theater chain that popularized the idea of in-theater drink and meal service.
The mousse went down smoothly, its sharpness cut by the huckleberry jam accompanying it. It remained palatable even during more disturbing moments of “The Witch,” in which bonnet-ruffling forces of evil beset a Puritan family.
Part of the ease with which our party of two consumed the mousse, along with a Brussels-sprouts salad, Nashville “hot chicken” sandwich, plus a Coke and a Knee Deep Citra Extra Pale Ale (the theater chain that put “draft” in its name offers 28 beers on tap, including this offering from Auburn), can be attributed to vast experience with movie-theater eating.
We’ve shoveled in popcorn, candy, nachos and reheated pizza while watching horror films since the 1980s. Made-to-order food prepared in a real kitchen, led by a real chef (Ronnie New, formerly of San Francisco’s Comstock Saloon), and served to us at the table between our seats felt less like a foreign concept than a luxurious extension of past experiences (though neither the $16 sandwich nor $12 salad tasted near as good as the $11 mousse).
July 6, 2016
From the Press of Atlantic City: The marquee was hoisted atop the borough’s 1940s-era movie theater this week, as its new owners plan a mid-July reopening and a business model reflected at more cinemas across the country.
Nearly $1 million in renovations at the Harbor Square Theatre on 96th Street include widening chairs and aisles and cutting the number of seats, co-owner Clint Bunting said.
The movie house also includes third-party tenant Harbor Burger Bar, a restaurant that offers food and alcohol that can be consumed inside the theater.
And the theater will be open year-round, Bunting said. Its predecessor, Frank Theatres Harbor 5, was opened seasonally last year.
In the past five years, online streaming platforms such as Netflix have drawn moviegoers from theaters, according to research firm IBISWorld.
June 29, 2016
From Mlive: Plans for renovation of the historic State Theatre are in the hands of the city’s Historic Planning Commission.
Part of the renovation calls for creating four separate theaters to screen movies, doubling the two screens currently available.
The State Theatre is located at 225 S. State St.
The theaters would have seating capacity of approximately 180, 150, 80 and 50 people respectively and will comply with the American Disabilities Act, according to Russ Collins, CEO of the Michigan Theater Foundation, the group which owns the State Theatre.
“We need to make comfortable venues that are excellent in terms of a great place to go to the movies,” Collins said. “There’s going to be four theaters with very comfortable seats and it will be a great place to go to the movies.”
The new theaters will have plenty of leg room and newly installed seats that will provide more comfort for a better viewing experience, Collins said.
Previously, the ownership group announced plans to renovate the theater to restore the art deco theme to the building, including updating the marquee and the building’s exterior. In February, the Downtown Development Authority committed $200,000 toward the cost of renovating the marquee and the façade.
Other planned improvements to the facility include the installation of an elevator to get patrons to the second floor of the building where the theaters are located and updates to the lobby areas, along with updates to the bathrooms.
The Michigan Theater Foundation purchased the State Theater in October 2014 and announced plans to invest between $2 million to $3 million in the facility.
While work on the facility cannot begin until plans have been completely approved by the city, Collins is hopeful to begin work later this fall.
The goal is to unveil the renovations in 2017, which also is the 75th anniversary of the State Theatre.
From the Beatrice Daily Sun – The Bonham Theatre Project, a nonprofit group dedicated to saving the theater, bought the building after it closed in 2012. Four years later the funds are in place, and officials broke ground Monday to commemorate the restoration’s start.
June 27, 2016
From the Roanoke Times:
The old stage had to go.
Workers inside the Historic Masonic Theatre on Main Street in Clifton Forge pried up dry-rotted boards. At least 10 feet above them, pallets dangled from new rigging. The boxes on those pallets contained the new stage curtains, held in suspense until crews finished the unplanned replacement of the stage floor.
Renovations tend to come with surprises. This one, though inconvenient, wasn’t going to keep the 110-year-old theater from being ready for its July 1 grand reopening.
Seven years ago, a determined group of residents set up the Masonic Theatre Preservation Foundation to restore the crumbling theater to life. This month, the $6.5 million construction project is nearly done.
“It’s not an end. It’s just a beginning,” said John Hillert, the retiree from the insurance industry who started the push to save the theater.
The grand reopening will include big-band music by the Sway Katz and Americana rock from the Scott Miller Trio, a screening of “The Wizard of Oz,” and tours of the theater, which promoters dub an “architectural treasure.”
“It’s a remarkable project,” said theater executive director Jeff Stern. “You can feel the love, the desire from the community, in the building when you walk into it. It’s a meaningful part of Clifton Forge and the history of this region.”
The reopening of the theater launches the most ambitious piece of a concerted effort to recast the 3,884-population town, once home to a major maintenance shop for the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway, as a hub for creativity and a picturesque destination for tourists. The theater is intended to serve as the crowning jewel of a small downtown with shops, restaurants and galleries all in walking distance.
“We’re very proud of what’s happening up here,” said Clifton Forge town manager Darlene Burcham.
June 21, 2016
From Bring Me The News: It’s been a long time coming, but next week marks the start of the highly-anticipated restoration of Duluth’s NorShor Theatre.
The Duluth City Council announced Friday that the $30.5 million project restoring the 100-plus year old arts venue will get underway.
The art-deco venue – which over its illustrious history has showcased artists including Charlie Chaplin and Duluth’s own “Trampled By Turtles” – will be revamped to “improve visitor experiences, accessibility, expand programs and sustain the theatre into its next century.”
It marks the end of a 5-year saga to find funding for the project, with the pieces of the puzzle finally falling into place last September.
June 17, 2016
From citypages.com: If all goes according to plan, two new theaters will have opened their doors in the Twin Cities by the time we see our next snowfall. Both will be small, but — their founders hope — essential to their communities. advertisement
On West Seventh Street in St. Paul, Ryan and Tina North have just saved a historic theater from the wrecking ball. The Garden Theater originally opened exactly 100 years ago as a movie house, but hasn’t been used for entertainment since the 1960s.
Ryan North says that last year, the city told the previous owner the severely deteriorated building would have to be torn down unless a viable renovation plan was put into place soon. “You could stand where our center stage is going to be,” he recalls, “and look up and see the sky.”
The Norths, a married couple with a long history in the local theater scene, came up with a plan: They bought the building and will reopen it this fall as North Garden Theater. After renovations, the venue will be a flexible space with the capacity to accommodate an audience of about 150.
“Tina and I have a couple of ideas,” says Ryan on the shows they’d like to produce in the theater themselves, “but we hope to mostly make it available for all of the nomadic performers and artists and groups who need a space.”
With the newly opened Schmidt Artist Lofts right across the street, the neighborhood is experiencing a renaissance. “The West Seventh neighborhood has extreme potential,” says Ryan. “It’s already a great, cool little neighborhood, but we think it’s about to just pop.”