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Update 11-23-2016

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Update 11-23-2016
Just a quick update on our progress. We know we have been a bit silent for the last month or so, but rest assured it’s not for lack of tireless work on securing a future for the El Rey Theater.

We have finished drafting our business plan as well as a 5 year financial projection, and are currently working with an investor to secure the purchase of the theater. Unfortunately,  more details regarding the sale can’t be divulged at this point.
We have also joined the League of Historical American Theaters (LHAT) which offers a community of other historical theater operators as well as some amazing operational resource that we’ve already been able to take advantage of. We’ve also been graciously invited into the Sundance Arthouse Convergence, another incredible resource of theater operators created in connection with the Sundance Institute in Park City Utah.  We are certain that with our own efforts as well as our collaboration with these, and other prestigious national organizations, the El Rey Theater can become a local and state landmark with regular programming that rivals the most well known and profitable theaters in the country.
As most of you already know, our El Rey Theater is the oldest continuously operated movie theater in California, as well as 3rd in the US. We plan to use this distinction to make it a destination location for cinema and performance audiences worldwide not just for the theater itself, but for all of downtown Chico.

Thank you all for your continued support!

The El Rey Theater Alliance Team

How Alamo Drafthouse is redefining the cinema experience – Videos – CBS News

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Other visionaries that trust in the power of their local cinema house.

If you don’t already know about the Alamo Drafthouse cinema chain, it could change your view of going to the movies. Alamo Drafthouse is the brainchild of Tim League, a hardcore film buff since high school. It started small almost 20 years ago in Austin, Texas, but has grown into a high-concept theater chain with more than two dozen locations nationwide. Dana Jacobson reports from the newest site in Brooklyn, New York.

Source: How Alamo Drafthouse is redefining the cinema experience – Videos – CBS News

Our recent Letter to the Enterprise Record

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Recently, Councilwoman Ann Schwab asked that the City Council agendize the “El Rey issue”, at the request of constituents.  The city was charged to discover if they could protect the theater as a historical resource for the city of Chico.  In response, the city stated that the El Rey Theater is within a historical overlay zone, and acknowledged that the interior murals are historically significant. Information was also provided during the Council meeting proving that the El Rey is currently the oldest continuously operated movie theater in the state and third in the U.S. Any changes to the theater would be subject to the usual procedure for historic buildings in this district. It was also stated that the city does, in fact, have the jurisdiction to declare the El Rey a city landmark.

The El Rey Theater Alliance, a non-profit corporation, is currently negotiating a possible purchase of the theater with the current owner. It never was, or ever has been, suggested that the City of Chico purchase the building, or force the current owners to maintain a business that they no longer want. We are dedicated to finding solutions that work for everyone, and will continue to do so tirelessly in order to keep the El Rey intact, restored, and vibrantly serving our community.


Lisa West, President

El Rey Theater Alliance

Chico City Coulcil Meeting 9-20

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The City Council meeting went VERY well. All 7 members voted YES to agendize the El Rey issue. We are hoping to get it on this next meeting, October 4. Way to go, City Council! You earned your applause! And THANK YOU to everyone who showed up. I have a feeling our numbers impressed upon them that this is a VERY IMPORTANT community issue! Well done, everyone! We’ve collected roughly 1,000 signatures so far, counting both the hard copy petitions and the electronic petition. Keep up the FANTASTIC WORK, everyone! Sign if you haven’t, and please keep sharing. Please. Thank you!

Contact List

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Here is a list of interested individuals that have the power to save the El Rey.

Please email them and kindly remind them how important the theater is to the Chico community.

Chico City Council
Mark Sorenson (Mayor) mark.sorensen@chicoca.gov
Sean Morgan (Vice Mayor) sean.morgan@chicoca.gov
Andrew Coolidge andrew.coolidge@chicoca.gov
Reanette Filmer reanette.fillmer@chicoca.gov
Tami Ritter tami.ritter@chicoca.gov
Ann Schwab ann.schwab@chicoca.gov
Randall Stone randall.stone@chicoca.gov

City Planning Department
Mike Sawley mike.sawley@chicoca.gov

New Buyers:
Kyle Billlingsley (Owner) kylecarter@gmail.com
S. Martin, Architect samartin@rrmdesign.com

About Us

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About Us

The El Rey Theater Alliance is a non-profit 501(c)(3), public foundation formed in 2016 with the mission of purchasing, rehabilitating, and operating the El Rey Theater. The El Rey Theater Alliance also maintains a foundation of giving for local and regional film and performance education.
The El Rey has been a working entertainment venue since being built in 1906. Known as The Majestic, it has survived 2 world wars, the industrial revolution, a horrific fire that gutted the building in 1947 (rumor is the owner stood outside and watched the flames, claiming to all those next to him, “We shall rebuild!”) and then rose like the Phoenix from those flames to become the El Rey. This grand old theater is going to be gone unless we save her.