#SaveTheRio: Petition launched to preserve historic Rio Theatre

Courier Staff - Vancouver Courier

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The deadline to buy back the Rio Theatre building is fast approaching and the operator has reached out for help.

The deadline to make an offer to purchase the building is Feb. 6.

rio theatre corinne lea
Rio Theatre operator Corrine Lea is looking to buy back the Rio Theatre and save it from potential purchase pressures. Photo Dan Toulgoet

“We need your help fast!” reads the plea on the theatre’s website. “We need to collect as many signatures as possible to demonstrate the community’s support in saving the existing, historical, art-deco venue that we know and love.”

A petition has been launched on the theatre’s website asking people to share their love of the Rio.

The property at Broadway and Commercial Drive has been on the market for the better part of a year but late last week a real estate brochure listed it for sale.

Corrine Lea, who’s run at the helm stretches into its second decade as of May 1, first purchased the theatre in 2008, but sold it to theatre magnate Leonard Shein when the market for single-screen theatres took a nose dive.

She’s continued on as the operator and manager since.

Lea told the Courier earlier this week she is expecting to make an offer to buy the Rio back.

“The existing property owners have always been among our biggest allies — now is the time to let them know how much the Rio means to YOU in support of our offer being accepted,” the petition reads.

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“We believe the best way to #SavetheRio is for the current proprietors of the business (with the help of a team of investors) to own the building, so that they may continue to function as a dedicated steward, ensuring the space continues to thrive and remain the cultural anchor of Commercial Drive.”

The petition can be found at http://riotheatre.ca/save-the-rio.

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