Save the Avenue Theater in Downey, Ca. ((Petition))

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retrocool
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Save the Avenue Theater in Downey, Ca. ((Petition))

Postby retrocool » Fri Apr 24, 2009 8:48 am

Hi everyone,

Please help us save the historic Avenue Theater in Downey, California.

Please sign our online petition.

We saved Johnie's Broiler now lets save the Avenue Theater!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/2/save-t ... california

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Postby nichols » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:12 am

Image
(Downey Conservancy)
I agree that the Avenue theater is terrific and great, but...

The city purchased it recently as it was about to become a banquet hall. Mayor Guerra told me recently that he loves it too but it's walking distance from their huge performing arts center and that it's best use would probably not be as a theater. They don't plan to demolish it, but the most character-defining feature, the marquee, is probably in danger. The rooftop section must have been removed after that 1980s ordinance that almost cost us the McDonald's sign. The use for the theater space is undecided.

The exisitng city theater:
http://www.downeytheatre.com/

The Avenue Theater on Cinematreasures
http://cinematreasures.org/theater/5124/
Last edited by nichols on Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby nichols » Fri Apr 24, 2009 9:14 am

Image
2008

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Hey Chris

Postby retrocool » Fri Apr 24, 2009 12:36 pm

Hey Chris,

What Mayor Guerra says is true, there is a theater complex close by, but, the downtown area is in desperate need of something that will provide entertainment. The roof sign was actually removed do to the 87 earthquake, when it was retrofitted they took it off. I have talked with Mario about preservation issues many times and he always has a way of turning things around so that the real issue is never addressed. Just my opinion.
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Postby nichols » Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:51 am

Let's try to find someone that can take over the space. From a strictly historic preservation point of view, what are we looking at? How is the interior? I saw a picture of the facade during this last remodeling in the '60s and there isn't much there so the marquee is integral, I imagine. Is there an educational use? Does Rio Hondo need a small theater? I see they have a film program listed. Whatever happened to this "Captain Blood" and his kids' revival theater in Orange County?
http://cinematreasures.org/theater/7176/
http://cinematreasures.org/theater/4943/
Wouldn't that be a cool use?
The Alamo Drafthouse experience is incredible:
http://www.drafthouse.com/
a restaurant/bar with a theater component might be a viable option. It's been done locally with places like http://cinespace.info/ , the upcoming Vogue http://cinematreasures.org/theater/496/ and Gold Class Cinema http://www.goldclasscinemas.com/ and to a lesser extent, the Bridge http://www.thebridgecinema.com
Can you share these with the Mayor? I think this last one might really appeal to him. Can deacons drink booze? Hmm.

Again, I totally support the cause, I totally support you and I totally support Downey, but we need to always remember that preservation is about saving buildings and not so much about specifying a specific use for them. We just need to find the best use and try to make that happen. THANKS

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Postby nichols » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:02 am

Here's the image I was thinking of
Image
(Downey Conservancy)
if the '60s marquee was not someone's cup of tea (I really like it) there's not much underneath it to expose.

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Save the Avenue Theater in Downey, CA (petition)

Postby foresite » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:40 am

Thank you, Chris, for the different examples of reuse for the space. All of these sound wonderful; much better to me than what the city might do. They bought the theater with redevelopment funds, so a portion of the space must include housing, 20% of which must be "affordable" - low income to moderate. To me, that almost sounds like putting a used car dealer in a carhop drive-in.
Their "request for proposals" document also states that they want the ground floor to have a "high quality, sit-down" restaurant and that another portion have "community space" which must have "cultural programming". Not sure how all of that can be interpreted, but the biggest fear I have is that we will lose something that could have been restored, just because of the source of the funds used to purchase it. The "Friends of the Avenue" (I just coined that) certainly welcome your support and guidance. Without all of you, Downey would have lost McDonald's and the Broiler. We need you, once again!! Thank you!!

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Postby nichols » Sat Apr 25, 2009 9:25 pm

well, I went out to Downey tonight (Saturday) and sort of scoped it out. You could shoot a cannon down that street. Dead, dead deadsville. In fact, the only people I saw were in front of the mortuary. Even though the theater site has a restaurant on each side of it, the street was empty. This is not a space for a first time restaurant. It has to be a destination place or a place with built in events (like a banquet hall, I guess :( ahem ) Maybe you can find something that exists nearby and wants to expand or relocate. I see a number of galleries that have movie nights... I think this guy does: http://www.hibbleton.com/ or what about these guys? http://www.sarahbaingallery.com/ they were convinced to move to Anaheim recently from Brea...A place with a lot of openings and events and signings.. things like that. is there a specialty video store maybe in OC that wants to expand? Anything from the music scene in Fullerton? Something like the old Foxy's that's now Downey Brewing co.? Thanks, I'm glad to pitch in.

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Save the Avenue Theater in Downey, CA (petition)

Postby foresite » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:28 pm

While you were roaming our downtown ghost town, I was sitting in the Downey Brewing Company enjoying a couple of Harp's, watching the Laker game, and sharing a meal with my kids. Thank you for caring enough to make the trip. Too bad you didn't stop by the DBC so I could buy you a drink! I drove down the avenue around 10:30 and made the same observation. By that time, however, I guess the funeral crowd had gone elsewhere because there wasn't a soul (at least one that I could see!) As you saw for yourself, this place really needs some guidance on how to revitalize itself.

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Thanks Chris

Postby retrocool » Sat Apr 25, 2009 10:48 pm

Chris,

Thanks soooo much for all the info on the Venues. That will really help out. I will send those off to the council. Also I wanted to let you know we are getting a Porto's Bakery on the corner of Downey Ave. and Firestone. I think that should bring a bunch of people downtown. Also a new BBQ is opening across the street on the corner of 2nd. and Downey. Thanks for coming down here to scope things out. Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner on here, needless to say it has been a busy past few days trying to get the word out. I will post a link to this board on Facebook, maybe we will get some members
Thanks again
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Postby deanna b » Tue Apr 28, 2009 9:54 pm

Other photos listed by cinematreasures, some under previous names for the theater, pre-last-remodel:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_downey ... 5/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_downey ... 0/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/the_downey ... 2/sizes/o/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27895830@N ... 3/sizes/l/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27895830@N ... 709437116/

Am I wrong for liking the 40s marquee (in the third link) better than the 60s one? But I love the groovy colors of the interior.

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Save the Avenue Theater in Downey, CA (petition)

Postby foresite » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:56 pm

Thanks for posting these. The theater has obviously been remodeled and renamed through the last 75 years, but never destroyed. It sickens me to think that it will be destroyed because the funds that the city used to purchase it with dictate that housing must be included. Can there not be a compromise, housing of some sort, yet keep the theater intact? Please support the campaign to stop the destruction/demolition of this landmark and sign the petition. If anyone knows of anyone who would be interested in purchasing the theater from the city and preserving it for all to enjoy, please notify The Downey Conservancy on the petition site. Thank you!!

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Postby foresite » Sat May 16, 2009 6:22 pm

Word has it on the street (actually the "avenue"), that the building will be demolished and replaced with housing units; only the sign and facade will be preserved. HELP!!!!!!

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Postby nichols » Sun May 17, 2009 8:38 am

Foresite and Downey friends,

May I suggest that you envision the theater as a construction site. The Broiler pictures are actually quite inspiring for this. OK, look at the brick facade and look at the plastic marquee facade, then look at the interior built elements - not the screen and seats - consider those decor or furnishings. You should now identify the elements that you consider significant. Post your thoughts here. I think having a super clear - contractor's view - vision of what you're proposing could convince the decision makers to pursue a more sympathetic plan.

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Our new site

Postby retrocool » Wed Jun 10, 2009 1:54 pm

Member Downey Historical Society,

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