October 10, 2005
LAFAYETTE, CA — Upon learning of plans to demolish the recently-closed Park Theater for condos, local developer Greg Woehrle joined forces with a group of local businessmen and purchased the building.
Woehrle intends to preserve the theater’s marquee and facade while considering various plans (apparently not including a movie theater) to revitalize the landmark.
The story, by Meera Pal, can be found on the Contra Costa Times website.
STATEN ISLAND, NY — In last Thursday’s edition, the Staten Island Advance reported that the UA theater in the Travis area was purchased and may be reopened as a gym.
October 4, 2005
NEW YORK, NY — Well, I visited the “Astor Plaza” Theater last night, although of course it is now the Nokia Theatre. (I know it may hurt, but I believe in keeping with the policy of this website, the name may have to be changed on the site, and Unfortunately, “Astor Plaza” may now have to become the secondary name).
Well, last night was the second night of the new theater. (The Nokia Theater opened Saturday Oct 1, 2005 with Social Distortion playing in the new venue. The new marquee was beautiful. My visit there was sort of bittersweet, as it’s a shame that it is no longer the Astor Plaza…but it is attractive. “Social Distortion” was the first band to open up the new Nokia Theatre, and that’s who I went to see. (they are also playing Tuesday and Wed of this week there).
The escalators look similar to the way it always was, but that’s where it ends. Everything is new, and nothing really remains of the old Astor Plaza. At the bottom of the escalators, is a bar area. Once inside the auditorium, it has been completely redone. The seats have been completely ripped out, and the front two tiers now has hardwood floors. This concert was general admission, so those two tiers are standing room, like most of this type of concerts are.
October 3, 2005
MILWAUKEE, WI — It is a pleasure to announce that Milwaukee’s AVALON THEATRE is being reborn, but just as what is not now known. Two days ago, a conference among community of Bay View, the neighborhood in which the Avalon sits, met at the theatre under the invitation of new owner, Lee Barczak, to discuss the future of the building in the minds of its neighbors.
It was related to me that the goal was to get the word out to the locals to get their input, and to that end, half sheets of paper were handed out to be distributed, titled: “THE AVALON THEATRE, Projected Opening — 2007.” Responses were asked for in writing to three questions about the use of the former movie palace, and if one wanted to be notified of future events/developments, one’s name, address, and E-mail address were asked for.
Significant to all of this is the appearance of the theatre’s new web site: http://www.theavalontheatre.com/. Go to its page: “About Us” > “Feedback” and there type in your suggestions for a successful future, as well as any other suggestions you might have. Let us hope this charming atmospheric (stars ‘n’ clouds) theatre will soon sing again, available parking or not.
September 30, 2005
NILES, IL — After a five-year absence, after the 2000 closing of the Golf Mill Theater, which had enjoyed a nearly 40-year run and has since been converted into a gym, a theater may soon be returning to the Golf Mill Mall in the Chicago suburb of Niles, according to this report from the Niles Herald-Spectator.
Kerasotes Showplace Theatres is currently negotiating with the mall to open a 14-to 16-screen movie theater at Golf Mill. The theater is tentatively scheduled to open during summer of 2006.
While Kerasotes operates over 70 theaters around the Midwest, including Illinois, it is only now beginning to break into the Chicagoland market. The chain has plans to open theaters in Vernon Hills, Naperville, Lake in the Hills, Aurora, and Chicago.
Unlike the old Golf Mill Theater, which stood apart from the mall itself, the new theater will be attached to the mall, and will be able to be entered from outside as well as from inside the mall. In addition to the former Golf Mill Theater, the mall once had a stand-alone live playhouse as well, the Mill Run Theater, which was closed and demolished years ago.
September 29, 2005
BROOKLYN, NY — A new supermarket may be built on the site of the recently closed Fortway Theater, according to a local developer. Though it’s not known exactly if that will happen, developer Spiro Geroulanos said he definitely does not want to turn the site into a condominium, but rather something that is more in line with the community’s needs.
The theater was originally built in 1928 and closed this past June, after Loews Cineplex decided not to go into a new lease agreement with the building’s owner. The theater was thought of as “revolutionary” when it first opened due to its atmospheric design (done by architect Charles Sandbloom), which looks like an outdoor garden, according to historians. Sandbloom also put in “electric stars” on the dark blue ceiling. Fortway was the second theater of this type to be built in Brooklyn. (Universal in Sunset Park was the first.)
Fortway originally had a Kilgen theater organ put in, and a stage in front of the main screen. Fortway was sectioned off when it became a Cineplex in the 70s.
September 27, 2005
MARYSVILLE, CA — While plans to convert the long-shuttered Tower Theater in downtown Marysville into a multiplex have fallen through, the new owner of the Tower is seeking to turn the former movie house into an office center, according to the Appeal-Democrat. At least the facade and namesake tower of the theater would be retained and restored, according to preliminary plans.
While many would like to see the Tower remain a theater, some also are just glad to see that the building used again. “Although I prefer it to be a theater, I know it’s not going to happen,” says Ron Russell, who owns two antique shops next door to the Tower. “But to be utilized in any manner is just tremendous for the city. Bringing in employees to downtown Marysville – that’s going to help restaurants, and that’s more shoppers with income.”
The new owner of the theater has submitted an application to the city, and the approval process isn’t expected to begin for at least a month.
September 26, 2005
MILWAUKEE, WI — Local philanthropist, Michael Cudahy, who bought the venerable Pabst Theater from the city, has now entered into an agreement to operate and program the 1928 Riverside Theatre through his non-profit foundation that also runs the Pabst.
Just how he and his manager will make this work against the other stages in town remains to be seen, and no mention was published as to the fate of the 3/13 Wurlitzer pipe organ in the theater’s future. We can only hope for the best for both.
Here is the artcle of the announcement:
September 19, 2005
Following a report by the Baltimore Business Journal that Clear Channel will be amplifying its corporate sponsorship activities within its theatre division, the question arises once again about the historic preservation community’s position on naming rights for theaters. That is the subject of this week’s poll question and any comments you wish to post in our comments section to this story.
If a corporation or individual pays for the restoration and/or renovation of a theater, is there a responsibility to retain any or all of the original name? Examples of this range from the Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City to the Cadillac Palace in Chicago to the American Airlines Theatre in New York. Past issues have also included the switch from Grauman’s Chinese to Mann’s Chinese, etc.
September 16, 2005
Max Einhorn writes:
Thanks to the current owner, who decided if I’m going soon, I may as well go now, the Elks Theatre (one of the oldest continually operating theatres in the country, located in Middletown PA) will be closing by the end of the month of September until the GMEDC is able to replace what he has taken and hire a team of staff members. See the Elks Theatre page here on Cinema Treasures for more information about the theater and the new owners of the theater, the GMEDC.