LOMPOC, Calif. - It's run-down and in dire need of repairs, but the Lompoc Theatre could be open for business in a few years. The group behind the effort to renovate and reopen the Lompoc Theatre is moving forward. The city of Lompoc agreed to give them ownership of the building, but there's still plenty of work to be done.
The city council agreed to start the process of passing ownership to the Lompoc Theatre Project, a grassroots group dedicated to reopening the old landmark.
Member Cecilia Martner said, "We hope to get the escrow process going that will end up with the ownership of the theater so we can get started on the renovation and open the doors."
This involves erasing about $700,000 in unpaid loans on the building, which will ultimately involve dealing with the state Department of Finance.
The group estimates it will need to raise about $5-million to fix the place up. The roof is in bad shape and leaks, the marquee in front is unsafe to walk under, and the inside needs repair.
Mayor John Linn is confident in the Lompoc Theatre Project.
"They have some very key people involved that bring a lot to the table," said Linn. "Number two, this is a very unique theater because it has 3,000 square feet of office space and 3,000 square feet of retail space. So it will have a revenue stream to support the operation."
The group wants the theater to bring people to downtown Lompoc. It plans to hold movie viewings and attract live music and theater performances when the doors open.
"It's vital for this community to have a venue for performing arts and culture," said Martner. "It is vital for downtown to have an entertainment center. It's vital for the history of the town."
If everything goes according to plan, the group expects the theater to be up and running once again by 2017 or 2018. The next step in the process involves the Successor Agency Oversight Board to approve the ownership transfer. The Lompoc Theatre Project hopes to get a meeting with them in June.