Dear Mayor Sullivan and Councilors,
Re: The Pantages Theatre
Heritage Vancouver has long supported the retention and restoration of Vancouver’s Pantages Theatre, the oldest remaining Pantages Theatre in North America and western Canada’s oldest vaudeville theatre.
We were very hopeful over three years ago when a reputable developer purchased the Pantages with the commitment to restore it with meticulous attention to its irreplaceable heritage value. A non-profit Pantages Theatre Arts Society was formed to manage the theatre on a long-term lease. The plan was to restore and upgrade the old Pantages to modern technical standards. This heritage gem with its superb acoustics and capacity to seat 650 was to have new lobbies a rehearsal studio, an enlarged pit and every modern amenity. In addition the restored Pantages would be an anchor in revitalizing a portion of Vancouver’s historic commercial district at Hastings and Main. It was a win/win situation for the City and the people of Vancouver.
After 38 months of working with the City to restore the Pantages, the owner was unable to come to any agreement with you and has put the theatre up for sale. It would appear that you have rejected an enormous opportunity to restore the Pantages Theatre without making public your rationale for this decision. The freeze on the Heritage Building Rehabilitation Program and the Transfer of Density program in August 2007 put an impossible strain on building owner’s ability to pay for the cost of heritage restoration. Given the current uncertainty of the HBRP and the TOD programs, we urge you to act now to ensure that the Pantages Theatre is restored.
Donald Luxton, President