News broke early this year that South Pasadena's rundown Rialto Theatre—originally built in 1925—had sold to developer Izek Shomof, who announced plans to restore the place and turn it into an "entertainment venue." But now it seems like it could return as a movie theater after all. Los Angeles magazine says that Shomof is working out a partnership with Vintage Cinemas, which owns the Vista and the Vintage Los Feliz theaters in Los Angeles, that would reopen the single-screen Rialto as a four-screen movie house showing first-run movies.
Under Vintage and Shomof's preliminary plan, presented to South Pasadena's Cultural Heritage Commission last week, three more screens would be tucked into the space under the Rialto's existing balcony, and those theaters would feature fancy sound systems and projection technology. But "[t]he experience from the balcony and the front half of the auditorium would be unchanged."
All the historic elements inside the Rialto, like its murals and plaster details, which need tons of attention after years and years of neglect, would be fully restored. (The Rialto has been totally closed to the public since 2010, when a chunk of the building's exterior fell off.) "We intend to restore and renovate the look and feel of the venue, and will not remove anything unless it is required by law or if it requires replacement or replication," Vintage Cinemas owner Lance Alspaugh told the commission.