The marquee lights for the Los Gatos Theater were turned off Sept. 30 and they could remain dark until June of next year when its owners hope to have a newly remodeled cinema for town residents and visitors to enjoy.
Those improvements will be discussed tonight at 7 p.m. by the Los Gatos Planning Commission whose members will hear from theater owners and its architect about what they intend to do with the iconic building.
Located at 41 No. Santa Cruz Ave. and owned by Three Sisters, LLC, the movie house's interior and exterior are being planned for a major upgrade.
Los Gatos Theater Background
The theater was built in 1916, according to town staff. Its art deco remodeling occurred following a 1929 fire. The windows were closed either at that time or in 1949 when additional remodeling was done. The tile wainscot is believed to have been added in 1948.
The arched windows were reopened about 1982 and the theater temporarily closed in 1980 due to damage sustained during the Loma Prieta earthquake.
Minor repairs and a conditional use permit for the facilty were approved by the Los Gatos Town Council in December of 1991.
Exterior modifications to the building included replacement of the tile and the theater was also split into two smaller theaters.
Three Sisters LLC bought the building in 2011 and has been working with town staff to renovate it.
Camera Cinemas is the operator of the theater and when it shut down the place Sept. 30, it noted on its website: "The beloved Los Gatos Cinema is now closed for major remodeling, but its many local patrons can look forward to a grand re-opening in the summer of 2013 with major upgrades and an exciting new, yet also comfortably old look. Join us as we move forward to the future."
Three Sisters LLC now plans to reopen a large theater with tiered seating and state of the art equipment on the main floor and a smaller screening room on the upper floor.
A separate application has been filed to modify its conditional-use permit to allow special events on the mezzanine level. That request could be heard by the Los Gatos Planning Commission Dec. 12.
The owners would like to start construction as soon as possible to complete the work and reopen in June of 2013. Approval of the exterior modifications would not affect the proposed modification to the business operation.
"The proposed interior improvements and addition of special events is important to the success of the theater's future as a movie house," the staff report said.
Other upgrades planned:
- Remodel the building facade with Art Deco theme
- Refurbish the terrazo flooring
- Add a new ticket booth in the center of the entry
- Add new double doors to the sides of the ticket booth
- Replace the glazed blue tile wainscot with a more architecturally and historically appropriate tiles with an art deco patter
- Embellish the front columns with flutes and lighting
- Replace the arched windows with round windows
- Remodel and renovate the existing marquee
- Add stepped stucco blocks at the existing knifeblade sign
- Add new windows in the center portion of the second fllor facade that will open onto a renovate mezzanine
- Add height to the center portion of the facade with a four-foot tail extension of the parapet to hid the raised roof
Los Gatos High School junior Melanie Goets is blogging about the facility's renovation at www.losgatostheater.com.