After years of decay, another restoration plan for Empress Theatre falls apart
Published Thursday, August 9, 2018 9:10PM EDT
The latest plan to restore NDG’s crumbling Empress Theatre to its former glory has fallen apart.
The building, which was once home to the only Egyptian revival theatre in Canada, was to receive a $10 million restoration, but a major partner pulled out of the deal.
The city bought the theatre 25 years ago and since then, it has fallen into a dangerous state of decay.
Advocacy group Culture Montreal said the theatre has been neglected, wasting its potential.
“Every district in Montreal, every neighbourhood, needs this kind of, not just a building, this kind of project, this kind of magnet,” said spokesperson Valerie Beaulieu.
Originally founded as a place to showcase both Hollywood films and Vaudeville shows, the theatre evolved to become Cinema Five, a repertory movie house that was a major component of NDG cultural life.
A fire gutted the building in 1992 and several restoration plans failed in the next two and a half decades.
A spokesperson for the Empress Theatre Foundation cancelled an interview with CTV News, saying that negotiations with a potential new partner are at a sensitive stage and the group didn’t want to put them at risk.
According to the non-profit foundation, MK2, a movie house operator based in France, stopped calling after inking a deal last fall to run 880-seat cinemas in the space.