Advocates for Vancouver’s historic Hollywood Theatre say “reinventing” the Kitsilano landmark would preserve it as a cultural venue, and they have a plan to make this happen.
The business plan released by the Save the Hollywood Coalition calls for the City of Vancouver to buy the property and lease it to a nonprofit society. According to the coalition, the plan has been presented to city staff.
“The Coalition is convinced that no other outcome will enable the theatre to realize its fullest potential as an arts and culture hub for Vancouver’s westside,” the plan states.
Established in 1935, the theatre was owned by the Fairleigh family until 2011, when it was sold to Bonnis Properties. The coalition is hoping to stop the sale of the theatre to the Point Grey Community Church.
For a “manageable sum,” the plan argues, the city could acquire the theatre from its current owner.
“While we recognize and respect the practical constraints of the City’s finances, our view is that this represents a unique opportunity and good value for Vancouver taxpayers. Notably, acquisition of the Hollywood at estimated residual cost is only possible as result of a heritage density transfer worth several times as much. And the cost to establish a similar venue would be well more than ten times the estimated figure,” the plan states.
In order to “preserve and extend the Hollywood’s significant architectural and cultural heritage”, the plan would expand the venue’s programming beyond movies and into theatrical productions, jazz and blues concerts, and public forums. The theatre would also offer rehearsal space.
It would cost around $400,000 a year to run the theatre, according to the plan. Renovations to the lobby, stage, and other features, which could take place in phases, would cost about $320,000.
The plan suggests that a fundraising campaign, which could include the use of a crowdfunding website like Kickstarter, could pay for the theatre’s renewal.
“Based on opinions of professional fundraisers and the high level of public interest, support and media attention the Hollywood Theatre has received as a result of its potential demise, we are confident that a well crafted fundraising campaign will be highly productive and readily offset foregoing costs for restoration and renewal,” the plan says.
The full business plan is available on the coalition’s website.