Should the Bay Theatre Be Protected as a Historic Landmark?

The Planning Commission invites the community to brainstorm ways to protect the theater from being sold and torn down. What do you think should be done?

City leaders plan to gather today to brainstorm ways to protect the Bay Theatre from being closed or torn down.

The historic icon caught the community’s attention when a ‘For Sale’ banner was draped across it in 2008. The 64 year-old building and Main Street anchor was listed at $3.3 million by a heir to the theater’s long-time owner, Richard Loderhose shortly after he passed away.

Since then, scattered groups of history buffs have sought a means to protect the theater from being bought and torn down. However, there has not been a unified or well-funded effort to see it preserved.

At tonight’s Planning Commission meeting, city officials have invited the community to come forward with ideas for protecting the building. The commissioners will also explore ways that the city can help save the theatre including options such as designating the theater as a historic landmark, offering financial incentives or tax breaks to the owner, and zoning or easement adoptions aimed at preserving the landmark.

In the end, it’s a question of how far the city is willing to go to protect the historic building and whether its current and future owners see value in its historic status.

Tonight’s Planning Commission is at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 211 8th Street.


Should the Bay Theatre be preserved? If so, what should be done to save it?

hf2hvit September 07, 2011 at 01:33 PM
It's ridiculous what we consider "historical landmarks"...old theatres, old hamburger chain locations...
PBC September 07, 2011 at 04:26 PM
...What IS sadder than someone who fails to savor 'historical landmarks' and similars for they contributed so much to what IS abounding around and about today. Various 'traditions" and 'relics" are worthy of 'RESPECT' thoiu today, unfortunately, many figure elsewise and figure EVERYTHING should be/ IS disposable as they scramble around about trying to have some revelency of their own while they seem to disown anything from ANY yesterday era which is more like a TRUe illconceived 'error' !! Rather sad and pathetic actual reality of 'today' which will be tomorrows' yesterday all too soon!
Emily Knell September 07, 2011 at 04:43 PM
In real estate I haven't dealt too much with the "Historical Site" property. From the heir's perspective, I wouldn't want to be held up from being able to cash out & sell the property at any time I choose. If I want to try to get $3M for it, reducing my property taxes alone isn't going to cut it. Would the city pay me $3M for it or line up a buyer who will pay fair market value & keep it as a theatre? The Bay Theatre is a historical landmark on Main Street and shouldn't be torn down. But, forcing any new buyer to keep it as a theatre will hurt the owner from getting the highest possible price for it by not being able to offer it to the largest pool of buyers, buyers who may envision another purpose for the site. If anyone else can comment on what the pros & cons are for the owner vs. the city, I'd like to hear it. On another note, if it is kept as a theatre forever as a historical site: I think the place needs some more lights out front (of course your most energy saving lights LEDs or ?) to draw more people in & the employees should be dressed up in 40's era style clothing. We all love the Goonies, but seriously stop playing that movie there. How bout' some Shirley Temple or some William Powell & Myrna Loy movies?!
Larry Jackson September 07, 2011 at 07:46 PM
I don't know what backstage facilities it has. If they are adequate, perhaps it can be rented out to local theater groups for amateur or semi professional productions, or to local schools for the same purpose. It could be available for seminars or other group events. Also, it would be nice for parents to have someplace to take their children for a reasonable fee to see the timeless old classics for the first time, such as Disney favorites or movies such as The Wizard of Oz, or National Velvet. These could play during the late afternoon or early evening hours so as not to interfere with bedtimes. Just a thought or two. I agree that the property rights of owners or heirs should not be arbitrarily interfered with. If the city wants to preserve it, perhaps they should find a way to have it purchased for fair market value and operate it at cost or contract it out to a non-profit.
Peter September 08, 2011 at 12:09 AM
In my opinion this is such a "no brainer" and it should be saved indeed. So much history just goes in a flash along with the ones that made the deal. I don't have the answer today but if she goes it's a damn shame. What else is here from that era? A few photo's. Perhaps city management could get involved. There must be tons of revenue from all the dad balsted parking tickets.............take no time to help, and give something back.....? Just a thought
enea ostrich November 10, 2011 at 05:55 PM
Emiky snell, please email me. I am a mom in seal beach who is researching this property for the archives, an article, and eventually a book. I would love to share my research and thought i have accumulated since i wrote to rena last week. Please email me at eneao@hotmail.com if you can. I appreciate it, thanks.
Emily Knell November 10, 2011 at 06:08 PM
It's Knell, of course when I was running for class Secretary at Rossmoor Elementary School, I used the slogan "Emily Knell is Swell, Give Her the Votes & She'll Take Good Notes!" :)
Shirley Siggers August 03, 2012 at 12:21 AM
WELL, IF i WERE YOUNGER, i WOULD BUY IT AND PRESERVE IT! i WOULD THINK THAT IT IS A LAND MARK FOR THE CITY, JUST WITH BAY THEATRE MARQUE UP THERE! iT IS THE ENTRANCE TO MAIN ST SEAL BEACH OLD TOWN! BAY CITY! I DO NOT KNOW A LOT ABOUT CITY GOVERNMENT, BUT WHEN WE SOLD La Palma Hospital, the city bought it with some form of a bond???? In La Palma Cal! Maybe, The Bay City property Owners would preserve it as a Historical site! And not build all those houses on 1st St! lol!~
Allyson Hathcock August 03, 2012 at 04:32 PM
The owner has the right to sell the property. However, has the city met with the owner to see how they can work together to save the theater as it is? Has anyone checked on grants to purchase the theater and revitalize it? The theater could house a legitimate theater to run with it keeping the movie venue with it. I have always wondered why the theater owners have never participated in special events with the city and sponsored events of its own. So much could be done to make it work and keep it as a historical theater and landmark. Theaters are a struggle to keep going - just ask me! As a board of director for the Theatre Guild with our home at the Liberty Theater on the JFTB it is a struggle. But, it is worth it.


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