By Palak Jayswal
According to Salt Lake Film Society, the beloved 95-year-old Tower Theatre will remain closed for 2023 in Salt Lake City’s 9th and 9th neighborhood.
Thursday, Tower Theatre announced a new initiative called “Tower Theatre: The Next 100 Years.”
According to the arts nonprofit, SLFS will renovate and repair the theater to create a center for cultural, nostalgic, modern, and uncensored cinematic experiences that are environmentally responsible — and those experiences will include “unique technological film screenings,” DVDs, and “museum-like exhibits.”
Last December, the film society purchased the Tower Theatre building from its longtime landlord with a grant from the Alternative Visions Fund.
The SLFS website wrote, “This purchase allows for the Tower to have a fresh start. Therefore, we are turning away from previously reported cosmetic improvements in order to begin serious long-term planning.”
In 1928, the theatre was built, and it has been an art-house cinema since the 1980s — with Salt Lake Film Society operating it since 2001. (SLFS took over the six-screen Broadway Centre Cinemas in 2002.) Tower and Broadway both closed in March 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic — the Broadway reopened in October 2021, but Tower’s return was delayed due to supply-chain issues.
In the film society’s update, plans for the Tower will take time, support, and fundraising efforts — so the theater won’t reopen until 2023, according to the update. To plan for the theater’s future, the nonprofit said it will form an advisory committee of “stakeholders and local business leaders.”
It will be a “community project,” SLFS said, and it will update its website and social media platforms with updates.
As part of the current repairs, the Tower’s marquee will be retrofitted, rain gutters will be installed, the roof will be repaired, interior sealing issues will be addressed, and the lobby will be completely demolished, which will allow for the installation of ADA-accessible bathrooms and a new lobby. The Tower’s old bathrooms were notoriously small, and located in the basement.
As Salt Lake Film Society’s premier film venue, the Tower will host director/actor Q&As, cultural and environmental films, panel discussions, archival film access, and a number of SLFS film programs that promote appreciation of motion picture art.
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