Pantages Theatre Arts Society Request for Help

Dear Friends,

After 38 months working together to restore the Pantages Theatre, I have to report some unfortunate news. The last round of negotiations between the owner of the theatre and the City of Vancouver did not achieve the results we had hoped.

After spending considerable money to hold and maintain the building and adjoining properties (necessary for a fully-functioning and modern theatre), the owner has been forced to put all of the properties up for sale. The FOR SALE signs are now posted. We presume this irreplaceable heritage and community structure will be destroyed.

While this decision is unfortunate in terms of what we have been attempting to achieve over the countless meetings we have held, I respect the owner’s decision.

My view is that City Council has rejected an enormous opportunity to help redevelop the DTES in a manner consistent with its own economic and social policies and strategies. However, since the discussion was held at an in-camera council meeting, I do not know the reasons for its decision.

That said, we urgently ask you to register your support for the Pantages Project. The simplest way is an e-mail to: mayorandcouncil@vancouver.ca (We would be grateful for a cc of yours to cb0bc@yahoo.com).

We have been told that there is a civic election on November 15.

You might want to note that the Pantages Project is a unique opportunity to do something extraordinary at Hastings and Main, for the people of Vancouver, and for heritage and the arts. There is – literally – nothing else like it in the City. And never will be again.

As you know, this century old theatre seats 650, offers a glorious acoustic, now has a Chinatown entrance at 127 East Pender, would have provided new lobbies and public amenities, an art gallery, and so much more.

In the last three years, over 2,000 people have been shown its wonders and promise. They saw and heard what was possible.

The Pantages Project would also have included 130+ units of housing next door. So much good might have been done.

Permit me to quote the owner: “We tried for over three years to find a financially viable proposal that would satisfy the many interests at stake. Ultimately, we could not. The Pantages was a very powerful idea. The theatre, the housing, the retail businesses – the combination was extraordinary. I was proud to have been a part of it. I am so disappointed we could not make it work.”

If we have any chance to reverse the City’s decision, it will now ONLY happen with the strongest support you can offer. TODAY. We’ve tried everything else.

Thank you for considering this,

Peter Fairchild
Chair, Pantages Theatre Arts Society