Hollywood Theatre saved: City council unanimously approves heritage revitalization agreement

Vancouver Courier

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The Hollywood Theatre has been saved.

Vancouver city council unanimously approved Tuesday a heritage revitalization agreement to protect the 1930s iconic theatre on West Broadway and allow a six-storey mixed-use building to be constructed on the balance of the site.

The Hollywood Theatre, shown here in 2004, will remain as a hub for music and culture after council voted to protect the building on Tuesday, July 24. (Photograph By DAN TOULGOET)

“We’re saving the Hollywood, and we’re saving it for arts and cultural uses, which could not be a happier day for me,” said Vision Vancouver Coun. Heather Deal, who recalled going to two-for-Tuesday movie nights at the Hollywood when she was in graduate school. “The Hollywood has been such an important part of Kitsilano and the city of Vancouver for so long.”

Green councillor Adriane Carr also went to movies at the theatre on the 3100-block West Broadway. She praised the community, the Save the Hollywood Coalition, theatre owners Bonnis Properties, the architect involved in the new plan and city staff for developing a solution that would save the theatre.

At one time, the owners wanted to convert the theatre into a fitness centre, which triggered a movement to save the Hollywood and led to Tuesday’s decision by council.

“This has been a very long, very protracted, very emotional process within our city and it’s landed so positively,” Carr said. “It’s only because of the people and their willingness to be collaborative, to listen to each other, to work things out that we have got where we are.”

The owners have proposed a community use agreement that will see the venue allow music performances, live theatre, movie screenings, as well as hosting corporate, private and non-profit events, says the city staff report that went before council.

The theatre opened Oct. 24, 1935. It was designed by architect Harold Cullerne, who was an early advocate of affordable housing and designer of the first PNE prize home. The Fairleigh family ran the theatre for 76 years until 2011.

A city staff report noted the theatre’s “fine example of Art Deco style, with numerous exotic features such as hieroglyphic decorations, an undulating façade, inset scrolled figures, black and gold tiles, the original frameless glass ticket booth and prominent marquee and exterior signage.”

The theatre is listed on the Vancouver Heritage register in the “B” evaluation category. The new owners will retain and restore the heritage building and construct a six-storey building with a commercial space on the ground floor and 40 units on the upper floors.

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