The gateway to our dynamic film programming has always been our striking historic façade.
History has not been kind to movie palaces. Most other theatres built during the Golden Age of American cinemas have been demolished, or allowed to decay beyond repair. But the Hollywood Theatre still stands thanks to this community's support.
Our lower façade is showing signs of water intrusion and masonry failure - which could lead to severe damage within the wall system. Water has penetrated behind the wall surface, causing paint to blister and buckle. Marble wainscoting is displaying open joints and cracks. Metal reinforcements are corroding. We're seeing troubling indicators of severe damage lurking within, which must be investigated and repaired immediately.
Sadly, many distinctive, historic features of the lower façade were stripped away during the mid-1960’s. While we’re making structural repairs, we can seize the opportunity to finally bring back an aesthetic more in keeping with the original 1926 design.
With your help, we can repair failing masonry, correct and prevent water damage, and revitalize the appearance of our lower façade. So many other movie palaces have been lost, but not the Hollywood. Not yet. Let’s work together to make it last for future generations.
Read on for our full renovation plan, project budget, giving information, and more.
The Hollywood Theatre, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1926 as a “palace of luxury, comfort and entertainment unsurpassed by any theatre on the Coast,” according to an opening-day advertisement. Rose City Park residents were so impressed with the theatre's beauty that they renamed their neighborhood the Hollywood District.
The theatre was designed by the noted Portland firm of Bennes and Herzog in a Mediterranean architectural style with a Spanish Baroque entry pavilion, modeled after the Roman Baths of Caracalla and the seventeenth-century St. Peter's Basilica. The entry pavilion is topped by an elaborate tower of multi-colored terracotta, with arched niches flanked by turned pillars. The entry also originally featured an octagonal ticket booth, decorative arches above the doors, and a terrazzo floor.
This project reflects our commitment to the ongoing stewardship of our historic building. We'll repair failing masonry, correct and prevent water damage, and restore beauty and prestige to our lower façade.
The existing lower façade work dates to the mid-1960s, when all original decorations were removed and replaced with contemporary materials. Today - over fifty years later - those materials have begun failing, causing water infiltration into the walls. For this project, the exterior walls will be opened up and their condition examined. Damaged elements will be replaced, and an improved system for addressing water infiltration incorporated.
New exterior wall materials will embrace an aesthetic more in keeping with the original design. New crown and base trim on walls to the left and right of the doors will restore symmetry as well. We’ll install six poster cases with LED lighting to showcase our mission, history, and programs. As part of the lighting work, existing surface-mounted electrical conduits will be encased inside the wall.
We'll restore the vertical harmony of the façade's original design by returning color and design elements from above the marquee back down to the ground plane. Horizontal symmetry will be restored under the marquee by bringing back display window elements that were removed in a past remodel. We’ll return a low relief cast sculpture above the doors, framed by mahogany arches lit from below. Please note that while the low relief sculpture shown in the renderings is a representation of the technique that will be used, we will be commissioning an artist to create a new design.
We’ll replace the tile floor with honed terrazzo embedded with an octagonal design that echoes the footprint of the former ticket booth, featuring our signature “H” logo mark cast in bronze. The octagonal outline will include text to convey our history and vision for the future.
The total cost of this project is estimated at $285,000. This estimate is based on the current conceptual design and may change as we refine the design and progress through the historic design review process with the city. Our architect has reviewed this pricing and determined that this is a reasonable estimate at this time.
General Construction.................................................. $112,015
Concrete, Formwork, and Reinforcing.................. $68,544
Terrazzo Flooring and Finishes............................... $51,194
Architectural Services................................................. $20,000
Display Cases.................................................................. $11,646
Mechanical and Electrical Systems........................ $8,340
To help fund this project, we have earmarked $90,000 in capital improvement funds. Since December 2019 we have raised $135,000, or 70% of our total $195,000 fundraising goal, from individual donors and businesses within our community, and a $40,000 grant from the Kinsman Foundation. We only have $60,000 to go to fully fund this project.
Make a gift today, and help us reach the finish line! You'll be part of the Hollywood Theatre's enduring legacy in this community. Every gift truly makes a difference.
Donors who give $250 or more will be recognized OnScreen at the theatre.
Donors who give $2,500 or more will be recognized OnScreen and on a commemorative plaque to be installed in the theatre lobby which will recognize those who have supported this and our other previous façade improvement campaigns (Marquee, Roof, and Restore the Doors). Donor gifts from these previous building campaigns will be counted toward the $2,500 recognition threshold.
Gift commitments of $500 or more may be paid in installments over a period of up to six months. Please contact Christen Fulk, Development Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Click here to give or make checks payable to the Hollywood Theatre, 4035 NE Sandy Blvd, Suite 212, Portland, OR 97212.
When will the project begin?
The project is planned to begin in early summer 2020, as it requires good weather to be completed. We intend to finish by Fall 2020.
Who are the design and construction partners?
We are partnering with architect Paul Falsetto (who worked on the design of our front door renovation in 2016). Falsetto, a graduate of the University of Oregon’s architecture and historic preservation programs, and principal of Paul M. Falsetto Architect LLC, is considered one of Portland's foremost experts on historic preservation. Our contractor is Bremik Construction, an award-winning firm with a portfolio of successful historic restoration and renovation projects, including the Ladd Carriage House, Freimann Building, Smith Block, and others.
Why aren't you rebuilding the octagonal ticket booth?
Reinstating the Hollywood Theatre's original ticket booth would negatively impact our patrons' movie-going experience. ADA accommodations are required today that weren't in 1926. The ticket booth would obscure our theatre doors and significantly disrupt the flow of visitors into and out of the theatre - presenting a barrier to access that is not acceptable. Instead, we will pay homage to our historic ticket booth by embedding an octagonal design within the new terrazzo flooring. Our goal with this choice is to honor our past while responding to our theatre's needs today.