Questions regarding renovating theater

posted by jhazel on September 24, 2010 at 3:39 pm

There is an old theater in our town I would like to buy, renovate and reopen. Small community of about 25,000. Any suggestions/advise from someone who has done this?


Comments (6)

William on September 24, 2010 at 6:18 pm

You should go to Big Screen Biz site for many of your questions on how to reopen a theatre. Also look at League of Historic American Theatres ( On their front page there is a link for Historic Theatre Rescue & Rehab Manual. Between both of them you will find most of your questions answered.

irvl on September 24, 2010 at 6:33 pm

I worked with the committee and board renovating the Garden Theatre in Winter Garden, FL. Our 1935 theatre building was in miserable shape—having been used as a warehouse for over 40 years after the movie theatre closed. By applying for grants from the state, county and city, we raised a lot of capital We also received sizeable contributions from individuals. When all was said and done, our renovation cost $3.1 million. We raised about $2.1 million. The City of Winter Garden paid off our balance after we deeded the building back to it. Since the City owns the building now, it does the maintenance and repairs needed. A sweetheart deal! We have been very successful in our city of about 35,000 population. However, bear in mind, most of our fundraising was done in better economic times, and grants are much more difficult to come by now than they were at the time we were renovating. I wish you the best with your worthwhile project.

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on September 24, 2010 at 9:39 pm

Have you considered applying for a 501-C-3 ‘non-profit license?

Look into what that ‘title’ offers (small businesses & donors) especially in the world of entertainment.

RayKaufman on September 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Send me an email. I’d be happy to discuss and/or review your ideas. There’s lots to consider. Much beyond “wanting” to reopen and or save a theatre.

themesuper on October 22, 2010 at 1:42 am

I am a construction superintendent that renovates
cinamas. You can follow the progress of projects
I am doing and have done at;

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