Reseda Theater Redevelopment

posted by Senorsock on September 30, 2004 at 7:57 am

The Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency is buying the 350-seat Reseda Theater as a linchpin for suburban renewal at Sherman Way and Reseda Boulevard, according to a report in the Los Angeles Daily News.

And at least two community groups have expressed interest in relighting the vintage neighborhood marquee that for decades drew lines around the block for top movie hits.

“I would love to see this made into a performing arts space,” said Leslie Lambert, program manager for the Los Angeles CRA offices in Reseda and Canoga Park. “It’s the center of the business district, the center of streetscapes and facade (programs).

“That block has been going downhill for years, and I think that the theater has something to do with it.”

After 15 years of no shows at the Reseda, the LACRA is now in escrow to purchase the theater for an undisclosed amount exceeding $1 million.

The CRA has received more than a half-dozen letters of interest to develop the property. Next month, the agency will put out requests for proposals for performing arts or retail space.

Preservationists say the theater, opened in 1948 and designed by renowned movie-house architect Charles Lee, is worth saving as a showcase for historic films and a legacy to San Fernando Valley moviemaking.

Theaters in this post

Comments (5)

Greenpoint on October 2, 2004 at 1:47 pm

The Reseda Theatre’s marquis was featured in the opening sequence in Boogie Nights. That was where the title of “Boogie Nights” was actually displayed upon.

rroberts on October 4, 2004 at 2:50 pm

I remember that theatre in the 1970s. The neighborhood was already “fading.” I think that the Reseda would be a great theatre to re-open. Anyone know the players involved at LACRA? I will help with other partners who wish to work together. If someone hears about the RFP, please let me know. Thanks.

goaway on September 11, 2005 at 7:53 pm

Havana theater in flux

Saturday, September 10, 2005
HAVANA – Re-opening the closed Lawford Theater is in question, with the building’s managers and former employees at odds over workers getting paid.
Mike Novelli and Paul Warshauer, co-owners of Wheaton-based Grande Venues Inc., leased the Havana theater in June and opened in late July, showing recently released movies.
Novelli and Warshauer hired local employees to sell tickets and concessions at the theater. The men closed a week ago when a projector bulb blew out during a show. Warshauer said the projector housing needed replaced, so the men decided to close for renovations and planned to re-open by Thanksgiving.
But theater employees say they have been released permanently from their jobs and still haven’t received their last paychecks.
“They can’t even pay their employees,” said Mike Kolves, the Lawford’s former assistant manager. “They were paying themselves, and they can’t pay us?”
Another former employee, who asked not to be named, said she had to bring her own calculator and vacuum cleaner to the job to add ticket sales and clean up after shows.
“None of that was ever appreciated,” she said. “There was nothing in there to work with … I even took my own Scotch tape there.”
The worker said she and another former co-worker are looking into ways to get the last paycheck owed to them.
“It’s not much money, it’s just the principle of the thing,” said the other former employee, who also asked not to be named. “They more or less wanted us to donate our time.”
Novelli said Friday he and Warshauer are investigating theft by employees at the Lawford.
“There is an investigation going on into some wrongdoing,” he said. “We know one of them stole from us.”
The investigation is “internal,” not being handled by police, Novelli said.
Warshauer said he and Novelli have contacted police about their suspicions. “We’ve locked (the former employees) out, that should tell you something,” he said.
In November 2003, he was at odds with Bartonville officials over his plans to rehab a Peoria State Hospital into a “boutique hotel.” Warshauer asked the village to invest in a $190,000 feasibility study into the concept with no commitment on his end to move forward on the proposed $6 million project.
Village trustees said they were leery of using taxpayer funds for the project under the terms proposed.
That same month, the Chicago Revenue Department issued a cease and desist order on the Portage Park Theater, owned by Warshauer on the city’s Northwest side.
When the men came to Havana, they asked city officials for a $15,000 loan to renovate the Lawford but were turned down because Mayor Dale Roberts said they didn’t have collateral.
Roberts said Friday that Novelli and Warshauer owe the city money for the theater’s water service but declined to say how much.
“They have a water bill that is unpaid,” he said. “We shut the water off. We were going to shut it off anyway, but they called and asked us to before the cutoff date.”
Novelli said re-opening the Lawford by Thanksgiving is still a goal for him, but it may not happen.
“We’ve got a lot of issues,” he said. “It’s not a solid thing.”

rroberts on September 12, 2005 at 7:09 am

Why is this article posted on this site? This is truly remarkable. So many “allegations and enemies.” Perhaps my story should be made into a movie starring say, Richard Dreyfus or Danny DeVito. Why bring up all this stuff on this specific site? It has very little to do with this theatre’s posting but what the heck. So much misinformation here. So many lies, but hey: this is America. Say what you like and don’t check your facts! Assassinate someone’s character while remaining anonymous but what the hell. It’s America. OK. Here’s a quick fact check for the people who really matter and proof you cannot always believe what you read in the newspapers or from what is written on these blogs. Mike Novelli is the President of GVI and had nothing to do with any of your allegations other than for the Wheaton, Zoe and Lawford Theatres. Leave him out of the rest or are you too ignorant to recognize that other corporations have come and gone without him. 1. GVI paid all workers at the Lawford Theatre in Havana except for two who are being investigated for theft. 2. We did NOT accept donation money at the Wheaton except for the outstanding fundraiser set up by Todd Plagman and many others for wounded veteran Sgt. Joel Gomez. This was a fundraiser that we all produced last January and audited then turned over ALL money to Community Bank. 3. I like smarter people than me because I learn from them. I don’t see to many on this site however. 4. I am proud that we sold calendars from the lobby of the Portage Park Theatre. No one else was helping us. (See many other postings about the Portage Park Theatre.) We returned everyone’s deposits, by the way, unlike the mess with the Annoyance Theatre company. I have accepted responsibility for the $4K debt personally as I have with the $5K debt for the Uptown Theatre, (Pales). 5. The Henslowe Group was not given the cease and desist order at the Portage. Our tenant, The Universal Church was issued the order for “building without a permit.” I had three partners there. Why don’t you hound them: Richard Pales, Kevin Miner and Jessica Deans. 6. I am a rather pleasant man who likes cigars, fun people, travel, the theatre and music, and lively discussions about politics and social issues with intelligent witty people.

Lawford on December 26, 2005 at 5:55 am

This Paul person reall derserves jail time, he always has and always wll take peoples money and he has been sued so many times, do a check on him on the net, he has outstanding judgements against him and his scams has increased, we all need to make sure as much information about him is out there, then that way people can see all the facts and act accordingly, that way, we cannot say that it was not there. please do as much due diligence as you can on Grande Venues, Paul and Mike, it can save you many many headaches and money

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment