Seal Beach's landmark Bay Theatre closed Thursday morning, triggering a wave of community concern that the struggling historic theater may be done for.
But it's only temporary, according to a phone message on the business's answering service.
"Starting Aug. 2, 2012, the Bay Theatre will be temporarily closed. Please check our website for updates on the reopening."
There is no word yet on when business will resume.
The Bay Theater, a 65-year-old building and Main Street anchor, has been at the center of controversy since owner Rena L. Singer listed it for sale in 2008 for $3.3 million.
Since then, scattered groups of history buffs and city officials have sought a means to protect the theater from being bought and torn down.
The Planning Commission has and .
However, there has not been a unified or well-funded effort to see it preserved.
Robert Aguilar, a paralegal and community activist , said he doesn’t know why the theater closed but hopes the owner won't raze the building.
“It’s basically a morale issue,” Aguilar said. "I believe this is one of the landmarks of Seal Beach."
Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said she hadn’t heard why the theater was closed but that she would look into it.
News of the closure spread quickly on Facebook. After receiving an update from the business on its public Facebook page, a number of citizens posted messages, including a few who were concerned the business was closing for good.
According to the morning announcement from the business's Facebook page, "The Bay Theatre has closed as of Thursday, August 2nd, 2012. However, please watch this page and our website www.baytheatre.com for info our re-opening. Thank you all for your interest and your continued support."
And here are some comments from the theater's Facebook page.
Felicity Fey Kanz: "you are re-opening fer sure right!? i hope so!
Chris Willman: "Oh no. I've been checking the site because I'm finally coming down to Seal Beach from L.A. tomorrow for the first time in six months. Bad timing for me. Really, really hope this is temporary!
Tania Cruse "WHAAAA????!! why?"
Anuket Bhaduri "Sad to hear :-("
Patrick Eli Nava: "This isn't a permanent closure is it??"
Bryan Morell: "Nooo! You're the only place around that shows classic movies on every week. This is a huge bummer."