Plaza Theatre revamp taking shape; Council updated on progress

The city plans to close the theater in the spring as it seeks bids from contractors and then awards a construction contract. The goal is to have the work, estimated to cost $16 million, completed by May 2024.
The city’s Plaza Theatre is currently undergoing restoration in hopes of returning it to full use by May 2024.

At Thursday’s City Council meeting, J.R. Roberts, president of the Palm Springs Plaza Theatre Foundation, gave a brief update on the timeline of the restoration of the theater, as well as some more detailed specifics about what is being changed.

Driving the news: Roberts presented some new renderings of what the interior of the theater will look like after the restoration is completed. Some of the proposed changes include requirements to retrofit the building to fit modern ADA standards, including wheelchair accessible seats, ticket windows, and dressing rooms. 

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  • Architects also propose that the outer lobby be enclosed and air-conditioned as well as adding a new bar and concessions area.
     
  • They also plan to restore the original stenciling to its former glory.

Looking ahead: Roberts said it’s hoped that new theatrical lighting and sound systems can be installed so the theater can support a wider range of programming.

  • “The theater was built as simply a movie theater,” Roberts said. “Now, it will be able to do small live production, live music, and lectures. Hopefully it will become what it once was, which was Palm Springs’s living room downtown.”

Roberts showed off rough before-and-after 3D renderings, including one of the biggest changes, the “unearthing” of the theater’s original proscenium.

Next steps: The city plans to close the theater in the spring as it seeks bids from contractors and then awards a construction contract. The goal is to have the work, estimated to cost $16 million, completed by May 2024.


To help: The Plaza Theatre Foundation continues to accept donations. A donate button can be found on its website.

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