Built in 1936, the iconic art deco Hollywood Theatre has been having a rough few years. Sold to Bonnis Properties in 2011, it sat empty for about a year before being leased to the Point Grey Community Church in 2012. Now their lease is up, and Bonnis Properties has decided to turn the facility into a fitness centre. These plans involve adding a second floor, and it's unclear how much of the original facade would be kept.
But one group of community organizers is fighting back. "Save The Hollwyood Theatre" succesfully launched a Change.org survey asking for a 90-day moratorium on demolition or renovation permits for the building at 3123 West Broadway. More than 2,000 people have signed it, and the city responded.
But despite offers from community-minded groups and individuals (including the current residents) to buy the property from Bonnis Properties, they remain adamant that they will go ahead with their original plans. Terry Martin, with Save the Hollywood Coalition, wants the city to offer incentives to the developer, to keep the Hollywood open as a community gathering space.
They are asking council to extend the protection order for the Hollywood to the full 120 days allowable, to give more time for community organizers to sit down with the developer and find a solution that benefits all parties. City council will hear from the public at a meeting on Wednesday, December 4 at 2 p.m., and hopes are riding high. Vancouver City Council Adriane Carr agrees - she put forward the motion that bought the theatre some time. "They want to hang on to The Hollywood and I think they can do it," she said. "This kind of hallmark social gathering place [is] a community feature."