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UPDATE: Jan 31 2015:
.. I have spoken at length with Saul Ornelas, one of 3 owners of the Hill-Top. Saul was very forthcoming about his history with the property and its current status. evidently he used to work there back in the day, mainly the ticket booth but he said he learned quite a bit on how the place operated. He and his partners bought the Hill-Top in 1995 and ran it for a few years until leasing it to an acquaintance who mismanaged it badly, it ultimately had to close in 2001.
.. Not long after that someone from the county govt. demanded he bulldoze the place due to being in such disrepair. Saul had the electricity shut off and even had a wrecking crew scheduled when another person from the same office called imploring him to SAVE the Hill-Top(!) All of this transpired over the course of a couple of years. once the order to demolish was rescinded that left him free to reopen it, but now ComEd won’t restore power because nothing is up to code.
.. Saul says the concession building is in really bad shape. vandals have broken in over the years and have trashed the place, ripped out fixtures, any chances of getting a license to prepare and sell cooked food would require a lot of renovation, all new equipment, and a ton of hoop jumping with the county for approval. Saul considered the idea of minimizing the concession stand if not eliminating it altogether. He claims that while it’s a big revenue maker it also has its complications (i.e. code inspections, equipment to maintain, etc.) and requires 3 to 4 employees to run. He claims if concession food was eliminated it would cut operation staff in half. He also claims so many people bring their own food and drinks anyway, that it would be a small sacrifice. I’d love it if they could at least sell food like hot dogs, nachos, popcorn, pizza (from frozen), candy, etc. no grille. keep it simple.
.. We only briefly discussed the necessity of upgrading the projection system to digital as well as the sound to short broadcast. Another big expense to deal with but definitely worth doing.
.. All that said, Saul still loves the idea of the Hill-Top reopening someday. He still lives and works in the area and he sees people all the time who ask him about it. Clearly they have fond memories too and want to see it happen. He seemed intrigued by my mention of the 355 exit at Maple Rd to the east and was convinced that the easy access could be a game changer with attendance, especially with the advent of social media.
I lived in Philadelphia from 1987 to 1996 and got to see some fine live performances at some great venues (The Keswick, TLA, The Tower). I only attended one show at The Tower and I wish I had gone more often. What a great theater. I saw Frank Zappa play there on Valentines Day 1988 and it sounded incredible.
The Historic Properties real estate site lists The Tivoli as being for sale at $55,000. I have emailed the agent in an effort to determine if the listing is current, I haven’t received a reply.
Here is a real estate listing for The Hub. For sale at $149,900. It seems current;
Here is an update on the recent status: