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

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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!)

West Broadway businesses support the Coalition’s plan


The Save the Hollywood Theatre Coalition has recently reached out to the West Broadway business community to establish the extent of support for our plan to Reinvent the Hollywood as a landmark public arts and culture venue.  Not surprisingly, the response has been enthusiastic – to say the least – with nearly 125 businesses (and more to come) signing our letter to City’s Managing Director of Cultural Services, Richard Neuwirth.

The letter recognizes the Hollywood’s unique value as a landmark focus of arts and entertainment on West Broadway and an essential contributor to the local economy.

The Coalition is very pleased to acknowledge the strong support of following businesses (with more to come) and encourage our broader community of supporters to return the favour! Just like the Hollywood, local businesses are a key ingredient of a vibrant and thriving community.

You can download the letter here.

Businesses whose representatives signed the letter include:

Evangelos Photography
Mama Lee Malaysian Restaurant
Ramen Sanpachi
Branches & Knots
Nuba Restaurant
Melonhead Children’s Hair Care
Garlands Florist
Kitsilano Community Acupuncture
Stepback Antiques
Lens & Shutter
Fresh is Best Salsa Co.
The UPS Store
Ramen House
Panago Pizza
Toybox / Toy Jungle
The Produce Co.
Tera V Burger
Harvest Deli
SushiSushi Japanese Restaurant
Waffle Gone Wild
Calhoun’s Bakery and Cafe
The Travel Bug
Lou Lou
Exposure Clothing
Sparkle & Junebug Kids Fashion
Elwood’s Restaurant Kitsilano
Reach Studio of Massage & Wellbeing
Lotusland Electronics and Music
Teriyaki Bowl
Paradise Fashion Studio
The Eatery
Dharma Kitchen
Broadway Barbers Hair Design
Gina Brown’s Yarn
It’s Still a Dog’s Lilfe
Coe Lumber & Building Supply
Papillon Bistro & Cafe
Gargoyles Tap and Grill
Modern Home Furnishings
Mr. Mz. Boutique
Rothman & Co.
Liquor Depot
Rimay Blessings
SPCA Thrift Store
Greek Senior Citizen Society
Angus Bakery & Cafe
Interior Flori
Caffé W
Metta Rest Spa
The Wolf & Hound
Illusion Studio & Spa
East is East
Strike Taiwanese Restaurant
Masala Cafe
Swiss Chalet
Deux Chic Esthetics
Gold Train Express II
Countrywide Communications
Chronic Hub Social Club Society
Young Bros Produce
Tea So Divine
Nicks Barber Shop
The Fringe Cafe
Parthenon Super Market
Just Imagine Costumes
Big O Tires
Salon Haze
Mei Mei Florist
Bayswater Tea Co.
Sally Store and Flowers
Comfy Spa
720 Sweets
Neverland Tea Salon
Mayhew Sherwood Florist
Seva Physiotherapy
Footworks Relaxology
Tapestry Music
TD Canada Trust
Eyeglass Boutique
Thai Basil
True Natural Healing Society
Olympia Pizza
New World Dry Cleaners
Image Optometry
FISH Kitsilano
Great Wall Mongolian BBQ Restaurant
Green Panda Dispensary
EyeCity Optical
CHANGE Lingerie
Flok Clothing
Tandoori Fusion
Noah’s Pet Ark
Hu Tong Restaurant
Ethel’s Boutique
Pulpfiction Books
Flight Centre
Kitsilano Natural Foods
Nat’s New York Pizzeria
Mr. Red Cafe
Beautiful Minds Wellness Centre
Semperviva Yoga
Amy’s Loonie Toonie Town
Aria Florist
Benny’s Cafe
Yoga Buttons Kids’ Yoga Studio
Thai Cuisine by Montri

Our letter to City Hall re: St. James Community Square

st james.jpg
The Save the Hollywood Theatre Coalition welcomes recent news of the City’s decision to step in and rescue St James Community Square from threat of closure.  St James is an essential community resource and one of the only live-performance venues remaining on the local scene.  The Coalition looks forward to continuing collaboration with the St James, where hundreds turned out in November, 2013 to launch our ongoing campaign to Save the Hollywood Theatre.

Read our letter to Vancouver Mayor and City Council below.  (Or view as a PDF file.)


17 February, 2016

Mayor and Council
City of Vancouver
453 West 12th Ave.
Vancouver, BC V5Y 1V4


Dear Mayor and Council,

We are writing to express our strong support for the City’s decision to acquire St. James Square, an essential community resource and one of the few live-performance venues remaining on the local scene. As you may know, the Coalition has benefited tremendously through advice and support offered by the St. James staff and management in our ongoing efforts to preserve and reinvent the Hollywood Theatre as a landmark arts and culture venue. Indeed, hundreds packed St. James Square in November 2013 to launch our ongoing campaign to save the Hollywood Theatre.

Consequently, we are very pleased to know that the St. James will continue to be a key partner and advocate for the Hollywood’s preservation. And, to that end, we are simultaneously encouraged to know that the City is continuing to invest in public arts and culture capacity.

Regrettably, however, as much as sustainability for St. James avoids the west side’s further decline into cultural poverty, it fails to address the prevailing capacity deficit west of Granville.

Once again, we encourage the City to recognize the unique opportunity offered by the Hollywood to establish a broader and evolving arts and culture presence on West Broadway. The Hollywood is perfectly positioned and ideally suited to provide the critical mass required to see West Broadway become a vibrant and self-sustaining focus of creative expression and artistic enterprise.

We look forward to re-engaging with our elected representatives and city staff to exchange updates on the Hollywood and explore opportunities to build on recent good news at St. James Community Square.

Yours sincerely,

Save the Hollywood Theatre Coalition