Group tries to save Kitsilano's Hollywood Theatre

Community organizers are meeting Sunday afternoon to come up with a business plan to save one of the last heritage buildings left in Kitsilano.

Theatre owners want to turn building into a gym

Bonnis Properties bought the Hollywood in 2011, but left it empty for around a year before leasing it to the Point Grey Community Church in Sept. 2012. (M Prince Photography/Flickr)

Community organizers are meeting Sunday afternoon to come up with a business plan to save one of the last heritage buildings left in Kitsilano.

The Hollywood Theatre on Broadway is slated for redevelopment, but a coalition has been given 75 days to come up with a viable alternative.

A public forum is expected to be held today at 2 p.m. PT at St. James Community Hall.

Vancouver City Councillor Adriane Carr put forward the motion that bought the theatre some time. Carr says the theatre is a valuable heritage building and shouldn't be developed.

"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."

Today, the building's 1936 art deco facade is sandwiched between modern storefronts.

Mel Lehan, who is part of the "Save the Hollywood" coalition, recalls spending hours in the theatre's plush red seats in the 1950s.

"Every week we'd sit up in the balcony and we'd watch the double bill," he said. "You'd have to come the next week because you'd have to find out what happens in the next episode of The Lone Ranger."

The petition to save the theatre has garnered more than 4,000 signatures.

Bonnis Properties bough the Hollywood in 2011 and plans to redevelop the aging landmark into a two-storey fitness facility. The former movie theatre is currently leased by a church.

With files from the CBC's Annie Ellison

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