Los Gatos seeks operator for century-old theater

Establishment has been closed since the start of the pandemic


A century-old theater in Los Gatos is seeking a new director.

The town has issued a request for proposals to take over the Los Gatos Theatre’s turnkey operations, the Mercury News reported. It’s been closed since March 2020 due to the pandemic.

Assistant Town Manager Arn Andrews said whoever is chosen will be tasked with preserving the building, handling all the daily operations and engaging the community. The town is open to all sorts of plans, said.

“This is kind of unusual,” Andrews said. “We’ve kind of left it pretty open for folks to give us what they think would be a credible management plan, and what they think the finances associated with that would be.”

While the deadline to respond to the RFP is March 4, there’s already interest. Andrews conducted a walk-through of the building with representatives of three companies on Feb. 10. The town is hoping for at least three applicants.

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“We are going to be a close partner with whoever the operator is, and the operator is going to be a focal point in town, so we want them to embrace the community and for the community to welcome them,” Andrews said.

Founded in 1915 as the Strand Theatre, it was redone in 1929 with an Art Deco look, including a marquee and murals. The theater has changed hands several times, with Camera Cinemas taking over operations in the 1980s. The Goetz family bought it in 2011, investing heavily in restoring the theater.

It’s been just under a year since movie theaters were allowed to reopen in the Bay Area after operators languished at the height of the pandemic.
Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas Holdings was forced to declare bankruptcy, from which it has since emerged, while AMC Theaters was able to stave off bankruptcy with a cash infusion of almost a billion dollars.

[Mercury News] — Gabriel Poblete

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