Money and Business

Riviera Theatre well underway for completion in August

Landmark site going through interior renovatons

Riviera Theatre project well underway

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Riviera Theatre renovations are well underway with an anticipated finished before the end of summer.

The classic theater off of Alameda Padre Serra is on the site that once served as the UC Santa Barbara campus beginning in 1914.

The theater had over 400 seats with an auditorium-style look.  

The remodel is a part of a collaborative agreement with the late Michael Towbes. Towbes was the owner of the full Riviera campus and a strong supporter of the arts.

In recent months a long-term lease agreement was reached with Towbes and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF).  The plan is now becoming a reality to turn the aging theater into a renewed site for films, seminars, educational sessions, and special events linked to the movie industry. 

Until now the theater has been used for foreign and independent films.  It will have a much broader spectrum of movies and related events when the renovations are done.

Construction work inside the theater includes a new foundation, air ventilation, seating and a state of the art Dolby sound and projection system. That operational equipment is only used in 26 theaters in the country right now.

The project is expected to be completed in about three months. The first films will be shown in August.

More fundraising for the renovation work is underway and if you would like more information to go to

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