Options and Considerations for Revitalizing the Rialto Theatre
The Rialto is Closed; Interest in Revitalizing This Gem is a Growing Possibility
The Chamber has published a comprehensive report on the state of our city's aging single-screen theater - a cherished but faded remnant of the days of vaudeville, and then the days of first-run films, and then the days of art-house films, and even, for over thirty years, the nights of Rocky Horror Picture Shows.
The Vision Rialto report was made public in 2009, but much of the material is still informative. Essentially, it concludes that the Rialto will not be "saved" unless a vision for its purpose is defined. Physical restoration will follow programming. What goes on inside The Rialto must drive the badly needed restoration of its' outside.
Since the report publication major changes to the Rialto's "options" have ocurred: the economy crashed, downtown development stalled, and the theater was officially closed for code violations. Thus it has appeared to some that the hopes for the theaters rebirth has been diminished. But there may be more hope than doom in all this bad news. Interest in revitalizing the fading treasure is growing, with a short documentary film, several new blogs and stories in the local online news source: SouthPasadena.Patch.com. At the same time, success stories are being reported in other communities that have revitalized their theaters.
To keep the information current, the Chamber maintains a web site with interesting links to resources, discussion blogs and other organizations. The site, dedicated to the Rialto Theatre, is: RialtoSouthPasadena.com.
And now, for the disclaimer! The Chamber is a nonprofit, mutual benefit corporation. We are not official representatives of either the property owners or the leaseholders, and we are not representatives of the City of South Pasadena, or any of its Commissions or Agencies. We are simply a connecting facilitator - an organization responding to what we perceive as a widely-held, heartfelt desire in our community to reopen The Rialto - and not as a paintball arena or a swap meet, either! So, investors and would-be revitalizers, please ask and we will direct you to the official parties that control the land and the lease on the Rialto Theatre.
The Vision Rialto Report has a foundation of good background information, though it is not up to date on the past two years regarding downtown development. A PDF of Vision Rialto can be obtained by simply emailing the Chamber.
Painting by Julie Hill created in the California Art Club Plein Air Paint-out "Rialto Visions" in 2009. Reused with permission. © Hill.