Owners of the Hollywood seek public support for liquor license

Update! The owners of the Hollywood Theatre are encouraging neighbourhood residents to write City Hall in support of their liquor license application.

As they say in their recent Facebook page post, “The Hollywood Theatre is an event-driven establishment and we wish to provide our patrons the added amenity of serving alcohol.”

You’ll find their page here: https://www.facebook.com/Hollywood-Theatre-Vancouver-BC-235717874496

There is hope for the Hollywood! But there’s still work to be done!

A development application has been submitted to the City of Vancouver for the Hollywood Theatre and the 100-foot site adjacent to the theatre to the west.

An Open House is being held on…

Thursday, March 15
4:30 to 7:30 pm
St. James Community Square, 3214 West Tenth Avenue

The proposal would see the Hollywood Theatre’s current owner retain the Hollywood Theatre with irrevocable Heritage designation, through a Heritage Revitalization Agreement (HRA) and operate it as a for-profit entertainment/cultural venue . The HRA would transfer existing development potential of the Hollywood property to the adjacent lot, together with additional bonus density as an incentive for heritage retention and restoration. The result would be a 6-storey mixed use, commercial/residential (strata) building next door to a revitalized Hollywood Theatre.

Your presence at the Open House is vital!!

Although the handling of a similar proposal in 2016 suggested that the City was seeking to acquire the Hollywood in exchange for bonus density, city staff are clearly taking a different approach to the present proposal and looking for public opinion to inform next steps.

Thus, given your support for the Coalition’s efforts to Save the Hollywood Theatre, we offer the following two questions and related views as a way of summing up the Coalition’s perspectives and concerns, reached on the basis of meetings with project architects and proposed operators, as well as limited discussions with City staff.

Will the currently proposed outcome for the Hollywood result in a vibrant arts and cultural venue that will benefit the community and the city in perpetuity?

We believe that a strong Community Use Agreement (CUA), forming a part of the Development Permit, must include generous commitments to film, non-profit, and community cultural use – in perpetuity – in return for the contemplated density bonus.

An important element in this project, we believe, is a public memory of what the Hollywood was, and should continue to be: a movie theatre. This is not to say that the Hollywood should be only a movie theatre. Indeed, we know all too well that the Hollywood needs to become a more versatile multi-use venue, supporting a wider range of screen and performing arts, to be economically viable and sustainable, and we are fighting for that.

But we also believe strongly that a significant portion of the programming should be dedicated to cinema: at least 35-40%. We think it’s worth noting that the Rio Theatre has operated as an economically viable, self-sustaining business with 60% film programming for 10+ years; a pretty good track record.

Equally important, is a generous commitment to prime-time non-profit and community cultural use; a chance for the community to participate and be part of the Hollywood’s future as a true community amenity. This should be written into this CUA as well.

Last, but surely not least, heritage designation of the building (part of the HRA) should go well beyond its iconic façade, and encompass key elements of the interior theatre space, including sloped floor and seating, as well as original 35 mm projection equipment (with new digital projection technology added). And, finally, we believe that designation should include the Hollywood Theatre’s continued use as a theatre/performance space, in perpetuity.

Is a privately-owned, for-profit business model the best possible outcome for the Hollywood Theatre, and is it the only way to see the Hollywood’s heritage restored and preserved?

The fact, of course, is that the current proposal would, indeed, see the Hollywood’s heritage restored and protected (details to be determined).

As you know, however, the Coalition’s aim has always been for a non-profit, community-oriented outcome that protects the Hollywood’s heritage and addresses the critical shortage of affordable arts and culture capacity on the West Side.

And, while the City is taking a different approach with the current application, its handling of a similar redevelopment proposal in 2016 appeared to confirm that a City-owned, non-profit outcome is, in fact, a realistic option. So, while we acknowledge and appreciate that the present proposal for a for-profit Hollywood Theatre has a lot in common with the Coalition’s plan, we continue to have reservations about the extent to which the proposed for-profit operation could deliver the same cultural capacity as a public, non-profit venue.

Is it enough to guarantee a healthy balance of programming, including regular cinema screenings and prime-time cultural non-profit use, through a solid Community Use Agreement? Perhaps it is. But, the question remains whether public vs private and non-profit vs for-profit should continue to be on the table, and whether the current deal is striking the right balance between development incentives and public benefits.

And, of course, there’s also the shape and scale of the proposed building next door, and the way in which it relates to the Hollywood’s heritage, Broadway streetscape, and adjacent neighbourhood.*

We are continuing to ask questions and encourage you to do the same.

What we know is that the Fairleighs ran the Hollywood Theatre as a successful family business for more than 75 years, and that the community has a wealth of fond memories of it. And, the good news is that the Hollywood’s future looks brighter once again as a result of your support and determination!

So, be sure to come on out to the Open House and HAVE YOUR SAY! – Let the City know what’s important to you!

Thursday, March 15,
4:30 to 7:30 pm
St. James Community Square,
3214 West Tenth Avenue.

Details of the Development Application can be found here.

*For additional issues concerning the adjacent building which forms a large part of this development application, please see this letter sent by the West Kits Residents Association (some of whose members are part of Save The Hollywood Theatre Coalition) to their members. Note in particular points 2, 3 and 4.

The Hollywood Arts Foundation joins the Save the Rio Campaign

The Hollywood Arts Foundation joins the Save the Rio Campaign

Corrine Lea of the Rio Theatre just released to the media the exciting news of our collaboration with the Save The Rio campaign! Thanks to this agreement, the Hollywood Arts Foundation will provide tax receipts for larger donations to the campaign to buy the Rio Theatre and save it forever for the community.

Donate to the Save the Rio campaign here.

Here is her statement:

“When we first began our campaign to buy the Rio Theatre to save it from being torn down, we formed the Vancouver Art House Society – a registered non-profit BC society created to help buy the property with funds donated by the community to allow the Society to own shares of the property. With a mandate to help save arts and culture spaces, the Vancouver Art House Society is run by a board of industry professionals. Not only will the Society help save the Rio, but it will continue on as a legacy project to help other Vancouver arts and culture organizations in the future.

It turns out that the Hollywood Arts Foundation also shares our same goal, to help save arts and culture venues in Vancouver. So we have decided to join forces! Not only will we be stronger together but one of the other major benefits this merge can offer is a tax receipt for all donations made to the public Foundation and in return the Hollywood Arts Foundation will also become a shareholder in the property, just like the Vancouver Art House Society.

Attend the Open House this Thursday!

Join our efforts to save the Hollywood in coming to the Open House on Thursday, March 15th between 4:30 and 7:30 pm at St James Community Square.

Join our Facebook pages:

Hollywood Arts Foundation
Vancouver Art House Society

Contact: Corinne Lea
corinne@riotheatre.ca / 604-723-2822

Proposed Hollywood Theatre development / Open House March 15

Proposed Hollywood Theatre development / Open House March 15

Screen Shot 2018-03-02 at 12.22.56 PM

You may have seen media reports of the proposed new development plan for the Hollywood Theatre. In broad terms, the proposal would see the City allow higher density development on adjacent properties in return for heritage designation of the Hollywood Theatre.  The Coalition is generally in support of this approach, but we are continuing to look for details regarding the balance between the extent of bonus density and resulting public benefits.

Although the City’s rejection of a similar redevelopment proposal in 2016, suggested that the City was seeking to acquire the theater in exchange for bonus density, the present proposal would see the Hollywood’s current owner retain the theatre and operate it as a for-profit entertainment venue, bringing live music, theatre, comedy, film festivals, TED talks, etc. to local audiences.

While the proposed mix of programming sounds familiar and encouraging, what seems to be missing is a clear commitment to cinema as a key component.  So, while we agree that the Hollywwod needs to become more than a movie theatre, we also feel strongly that cinema is an essential part of the Hollywood’s heritage and should remain a prominent part of its future, both through regular cinema programming and festival use.

Another vital piece of the puzzle, from the Coalition’s perspective, is the Community Use Agreement between the City and the owner. Our understanding is that the agreement will establish guidelines for theatre use, including operating model and the extent of non-profit/community use.  We also understand that the agreement will respond to public feedback received through the upcoming Open House.  And, so, we encourage supporters to advocate for a strong and enforceable agreement that guarantees a healthy balance of programming, including regular cinema screenings and a generous commitment to prime-time non-profit use.

And, obviously, a final consideration is the design of the new adjacent building and how it will relate to the Hollywood’s heritage and the rest of the street.

The entire development application can be viewed here.

We encourage everyone who is concerned about the future of the Hollywood, and of the character of West Broadway, to attend the Open House and provide feedback to the City.

In the meantime, the Coalition is requesting a meeting with the City to address foregoing issues and will continue to provide updates on our website and Facebook page to help keep the community informed – and help to ensure the Hollywood’s brightest future is realized.

Open House

Date: Thursday, March 15.
Time: 4:30-7:30pm
Location: St. James Community Square,
3214 West 10th Ave. [map]

An update on the Hollywood

Dear Hollywood Supporters,

Here’s a quick update about recent developments.

Not long after a deal fell through (back in October) with a local developer who grew up in Kits and shares the community’s desire to see the Hollywood’s screen come back to life, we were contacted by an architectural firm that’s now working with the Hollywood’s owner to consult with stakeholders and assess redevelopment options for the theatre and adjacent properties.

The good news is that the Hollywood’s future is potentially looking up. We’ve had a couple encouraging meetings with the architects and continue to advance our vision for the Hollywood’s future as a vibrant community-focused arts and culture hub, featuring the best of cinema, live performance, festivals, and other public events. We’re aiming to meet with the City’s Cultural Planning group in coming days.

Stay tuned,
Save the Hollywood Theatre Coalition

Documentary: The Hollywood

The Hollywood from Albert Kurian on Vimeo.

This 10-minute film was made by documentary researcher and editor Albert Kurian in 2007. It delves into the history of Vancouver’s legendary Hollywood Theatre and includes some great interviews with the Fairleigh family, plus footage of the theatre when it was still operating (as it will hopefully be again!)