• June 23, 2016

    Waterville, ME – Waterville Opera House celebrating 114th birthday Thursday


    From When the Waterville Opera House opened on June 23, 1902, patrons were so eager to attend the dedication ceremony that they filled the 925-seat theater, lobby and stairs and spilled out onto Castonguay Square.

    Over the ensuing years, the grand theater on the second floor of City Hall would become a gathering place for all kinds of entertainment, including plays and musical performances, ballet, touring shows, community meetings, celebrations, and film.

    Thursday, on its 114th birthday, the 800-seat Opera House continues to serve those functions and provides space for children’s theater programs, broadcasts from the National Theatre in London, the Bolshoi Ballet and Metropolitan Opera, and hosts film screenings and receptions for the Maine International Film Festival.

    Diane Bryan, executive director of the Opera House for 12 years, is excited about what the future holds.

    “The Waterville Opera House has been the gathering place for arts, culture and community for 114 years,” Bryan said Wednesday. “As caretakers, we hope to position the Opera House to shine brightly for at least the next 114 years. We are so grateful that the community has embraced this grand space and that we are part of the exciting resurgence of downtown Waterville.”

    Nathan Towne, marketing manager for Waterville Creates!, which promotes arts and culture in the Waterville area, grew up in Waterville and performed as a teenager on the Opera House stage. He said he looks at that stage every day and it gives him a sense of hope and pride — “pride in what Waterville has managed to keep alive and vital over the last 20 years of change, as well as hope that what we are building here together in Waterville as part of the revitalization process will continue to delight and inspire future generations to greatness.”

  • June 20, 2016

    Bellefontaine, OH – Bellefontaine theatre plans restorations


    From The Springfield News-Sun: A local theatre is moving forward with plans for a $1.2 million restoration project after being awarded a grant for historic preservation.

    The Holland Theatre, 127 E Columbus Ave., Bellefontaine, originally opened in 1931. It’s the only remaining Dutch themed theatre in the country, said Kris Swisher, president of Logan County Landmark Preservation.

    “We’re going back to the original look,” Swisher said.

    Swisher recently learned the theatre was awarded a $430,000 grant from the Jeffris Family Foundation for historical preservation.

    “They believed in this theatre because of the very uniqueness and the small town atmosphere here,” she said.

    To receive the funds, Swisher said, the theatre has to raise $860,000 in the next three years.

    “We will be selling seats for community involvement,” she said. “And approaching businesses in the community to sponsor buildings.”

    The restorations will include all new seats in the theatre, architect Karen Beasley said, as well as repairs to the building facades that frame the stage.

    “This is a great thing for our community to have,” Beasley said.

    Beasley and Swisher believe the funds will be raised in time.
    “We have confidence that we won’t let you down and we’ll go forward with this,” Swisher said.

    The restorations will begin as soon as the money is raised, Swisher said.

  • June 16, 2016

    New Orleans, LA – New Orleans’ historic Carver Theater, recently renovated, is up for sale


    From Two years after undergoing a full renovation intended to bring back its glory days of more than a half-century ago, the Carver Theater is up for sale.

    Along with the well-known landmark itself, the $5.5 million asking price — about half of what was spent restoring the theater, which has no fixed seating but holds 925 people — includes additional properties that are both developed and undeveloped. Altogether, they span more than a block along Orleans Avenue.

    The Carver Theater opened in a segregated New Orleans in 1950 as a moviehouse for black New Orleanians and was converted to a medical clinic in the 1980s. The clinic largely treated residents of the nearby Lafitte housing development.

    Dr. Eugene Oppman, an optometrist, began leasing an office in the building in 1987. He bought it four years later and oversaw its renovation.

    Since it reopened in 2014, the theater has hosted a mix of public and private events, including wedding receptions and musical performances.

    Mayor Mitch Landrieu delivered his State of the City address there last year. More recently, Snoop Dogg performed a late-night show there during Jazz Fest. In addition to the 17,613-square-foot theater, the properties up for sale include a vacant two-story, 3,232-square-foot commercial building and a two-story, 4,020-square-foot commercial building that houses a bakery and a barbershop that are both leased until early 2019, according to Richard Stone, a broker with NAI/Latter & Blum Commercial in New Orleans.

    The offering also includes four undeveloped lots.

    “This property package is being offered at far below the acquisition and renovation costs,” Latter & Blum said in materials marketing the sale, “and represents a tremendous opportunity to acquire a local landmark with major historical and cultural significance.”

    Oppman, 55, began considering selling the theater about eight months ago, he said Wednesday, and recently decided that it was “time to just move on.”

  • June 14, 2016

    Elizabethton, TN – Bonnie Kate Theatre to be purchased by the city


    From An effort to save a historic theater is now one step closer to reality. The Elizabethton City council voted unanimously Thursday night to purchase the Bonnie Kate Theatre.

    The Elizabethton/Carter County Community Foundation gave the city $111,000 to make the purchase. Plans are to make it a performing arts center. They already have a tenet to place a bakery and restaurant in the theater as well.

    John Huber has been leading the fight for the theater.

    “It’s a diamond in the rough. I see such potential for it, and it just needs somebody to lead it to that potential,” Huber said.

    The purchase should be completed in a few days. Then, a business plan will be made, and the restoration process will begin.

    The city is also considering purchasing the gravel lot next door to the Bonnie Kate for approximately $20,000.

  • June 13, 2016

    Streator, IL – Will the show ever go on at Majestic Theater?


    With its classic marquee and iconic balcony level, the Majestic Theatre was once considered a crown jewel in Streator.

    The movie house, built in 1907 in the 100 block of North Vermillion Street, was closed and boarded up in August 2014. It fell into foreclosure some months later.

    Local residents and city officials are hoping for an investor to see the value of purchasing the 8,100 square-foot building for some business purpose or restoring it back to its former glory as one of the most attractive movie theaters in North Central Illinois.

    The property features two separate auditoriums with seating accommodations for 450 people, a concession stand area and an unfinished apartment on the second level. Sales promotions admit the building is in need of some updates and repairs to restored the structure in its “original and nostalgia of yesterday.”

    The property will be sold as is.

  • June 9, 2016

    Los Angeles, CA – H&M’s Upscale COS Brand Coming to Olympic Theatre in Downtown LA


    From As the listing agent for the Olympic Theatre in Downtown LA owned by Titan Metropolis LLC, I am especially excited to report that we have signed a new retailer that will become another strong addition to Downtown LA’s growing shopping district. H&M is so bullish on downtown’s future — and why shouldn’t they be when their massive flagship store in DTLA has been doing extremely well — that they are now going to turn the dilapidated Olympic Theatre into their much more exclusive and fashion forward brand called COS (like “coss”), which stands for Collection of Style.

    Built in 1927, the Olympic Theatre has a total square footage of 9,835 square feet spanning three levels (basement, ground floor, and mezzanine). Unfortunately, besides the vertical “Olympic” sign installed on the front along with the beautiful arched facade, most of the historic detailing inside has not survived the decades of decay and different ownership alterations. However, given the upscale nature of COS, the retailer plans to invest a substantial amount of money to rehab and upgrade the building, including relighting the original vertical Olympic signage. You may also recall, the historic Rialto Theatre on Broadway was converted to an Urban Outfitters store back in 2013.

  • June 7, 2016

    Peoria, IL – Madison Theater damaged in fire investigation as arson


    From An abandoned yet historic Peoria theater has been damaged after a fire broke out inside and investigator say they believe it was arson.

    The Peoria Journal Star reports the fire ignited late Saturday inside the Madison Theater in downtown Peoria. Brad Pierson is a fire investigator with the Peoria Fire Department and told the Journal Star the fire appeared to have been started in several parts of the old building.

    Streets and a nearby bar were closed as firefighters worked to put out flames.

    Peoria fire officials gave a preliminary estimate of $100,000 in damage done to the theater.

  • June 6, 2016

    Gibson City, IL – Drive-in movies are alive and well in Gibson City


    From the Daily Journal: There are generations of movie fans who don’t get the drive-in theater concept. They would ask: Why would you want to sit in your car and watch a movie through your windshield? Don’t you have your phone or iPad?

    And there’s an older generation of people who don’t know that today’s drive-in theaters have kept up with technology. These throwback theaters use digital projection and a modern sound system. You hear the soundtrack through your car’s stereo system: Those low-fidelity speaker boxes, the kind you used to hang on your car window, are gone.

    Movie lovers of all generations still can find common ground these days, on the parking lot of the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In in Gibson City. This throwback from the “Happy Days” era is not only showing contemporary movies, it’s been named third among the nation’s Top 10 outdoor theaters by popular vote in a USA Today poll.

  • Minneapolis, MN – Uptown Theatre Celebrates 100th Birthday


    From the Star Tribune: One of Minnesota’s finest art museums provides an ever-changing global repertoire of avant-garde work and cherished classics. For generations, the Art Deco Uptown Theatre has been the hottest ticket and coolest movie marathon in town. To celebrate the beginning of its second century the Uptown throws its 100th anniversary party this week.

    Since World War I, it has appealed to moving-picture fans even when the heating and cooling fans became museum pieces of their own. Before admissions were sold online, visitors stood outside the box office in the kinds of long queues that ticket scalpers hope for. Even with a 1939 conflagration that closed it for repair, and later grousing about parking shortages and worn seating, it drew devotees decade after decade.

  • June 3, 2016

    Anchorage, AK – City denies $38M tax break for proposed 4th Avenue Theatre redevelopment


    From the Alaska Dispatch News: A tax break that was part of a proposal to redevelop the historical but unused 4th Avenue Theatre downtown has been denied by the city’s chief fiscal officer, according to documents submitted to the Anchorage Assembly this week.

    The owner of the theater and adjacent properties, Peach Investments, had proposed a complex costing roughly $278 million that would include pedestrian shopping, a parking garage and tower. The Assembly declared the property “deteriorated” last May, and in September, Peach Investments applied for partial tax exemptions amounting to about $38 million over 10 years.

    Without a tax break, the owners argued, the project most likely couldn’t happen. But in a memo to Mayor Ethan Berkowitz and the Assembly, Anchorage chief fiscal officer Robert Harris said the application didn’t demonstrate that the tax break was in fact necessary — or that the project even qualified for one under current city law.

    In an interview Wednesday, Harris said the proposal detailed a project that was just in its early stages and lacked specifics. He said the owners didn’t pin down key details, like whether a hotel or a condominium would be built.