Can the Cinerama Dome Be Saved? Depends on What You Mean By Save

As cinema enthusiasts clamor for the Dome to proceed as a landmark location for premier exhibition, a historical preservationist weighs in.

After Pacific Theatres announced Monday that it would not reopen any of its locations, Los Angeles movie fans temporarily took to social media with a fear: What would occur to the crown jewel in Pacific’s portfolio, the historical Cinerama Dome?

Over 8,000 have already signed a petition to “Save The Cinerama Dome.” By means of “save,” the petitioners need the Dome to proceed its carrier as a landmark location for premier exhibition. Now that Arclight Theaters has declined to proceed in that function, making that occur would require an exhibitor who stocks that urge for food in a fractured and unsure industry atmosphere. Then again, there’s additionally the opposite roughly “save.” Prime-rises are going up far and wide Hollywood; may a developer bulldoze the historical dome to make means for extra luxurious condos?

A lot of that equation lies within the arms of Decurion Corp, the umbrella corporate that now not handiest represents the Pacific and Arclight theater manufacturers but additionally the Robertson Homes Workforce, which holds the Dome construction in its portfolio. If it’s going to proceed as a theater, Decurion must comply with rent it (or in all probability, promote the construction in a deal now not not like the one who Netflix cut for the Egyptian Theatre).

Inbuilt 1963 by way of Welton Becket Pals, it was once the primary geodesic dome constructed from concrete and considered one of fewer than 10 theaters constructed particularly for the three-projector Cinerama procedure. As of late, it can be the final viable Cinerama; the opposite was once the Seattle Cinerama owned by way of the Arts + Leisure department of Vulcan, a non-public company managed by way of the property of Paul Allen. Then again, Vulcan swiftly closed the Cinerama for renovations in February 2020; in Might, Vulcan introduced it might shut Arts + Leisure and mentioned the Cinerama would stay closed “for the foreseeable long term.”

In 1998, the Cinerama Dome confronted the chance of an overhaul that will have advanced the web site, grew to become the foyer into a cafe, and added stadium seating. The Los Angeles Conservancy was once some of the leaders in a grassroots effort in operating with Pacific Theaters and town officers to cut back the plans in desire of person who was once extra respectful to the dome’s historical standing. The end result was once the redeveloped ArcLight Hollywood complicated, which options the dome as a distinguished centerpiece and many of the new building in the back of the construction.

“We in point of fact considered that as a win-win,” conservancy president and CEO Linda Dishman informed IndieWire.

The town named the Dome as a Los Angeles Ancient-Cultural Monument in 1998, which supplies it some particular protections. That designation does now not save you demolition or alteration, however any plans to noticeably regulate the dome would pass ahead of town’s Cultural Heritage Fee. It will possibly extend demolition for as much as a yr, which might permit neighborhood leaders to determine a option to save the construction — identical to the ArcLight transform.

Dishman mentioned the citywide rallying across the dome is a primary step in making sure it stays a film theater.

“There’s been such an outpouring of outrage and affection by way of individuals who have long past incessantly to the Cinerama Dome. I feel it’s vital for Pacific Theatres — or whoever would rent that assets or acquire it — to grasp,” Dishman mentioned. “The click that’s taking place now could be nice as a result of any long term consumers will know there’s an enormous target market for the preservation of the dome. Whoever owns it’s going to need to take care of that.”

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