GREENBELT — There is still a long reel ahead for the Old Greenbelt Theatre, which closed its doors May 31 for six months of renovations. The $1.2 million project began in June, and the theater is scheduled to reopen as early as November.Crofton-based construction company Gardiner & Gardiner is tackling the renovation, which includes a […]
GREENBELT — There is still a long reel ahead for the Old Greenbelt Theatre, which closed its doors May 31 for six months of renovations.
The $1.2 million project began in June, and the theater is scheduled to reopen as early as November.
Crofton-based construction company Gardiner & Gardiner is tackling the renovation, which includes a complete renovation of the lobby, concession area, ticket booth and restrooms, said Greenbelt Planning and Community Development Director Celia Craze.
The 75-year-old theater in the city’s Roosevelt Center is also receiving a facelift of the projection booth, in order to meet code requirements, Craze said.
New projection equipment will cost the city $110,000, according to a cost estimate of the project.
City Manager Michael McLaughlin earlier this year cited the importance of the new projection equipment so the theater can show digital films instead of film reels.
Other renovations include the installation of new carpet runners, aisle lights, the creation of additional handicap seating and the replacement of exterior doors, Craze said.
The fabric and upholstery is also being removed and replaced on seats in the theater.
A portion of the project, $300,000, is supported by a bond fund from the state of Maryland, and Partners in Preservation awarded $75,000 to help alleviate project costs, according to Craze.
The exterior of the theater will remain unchanged until a later project, which city administrators have not yet finalized, so a walk past the theater reveals nothing on the project’s progress save the words CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS in lettering where movie titles are normally displayed.
The City Council negotiated plans for the theater for nearly a decade, but they were revised, halted and abandoned countless times due to debates about the funding and extent of the renovations.
The Greenbelt Theatre opened in 1938 as part of the planned community’s Roosevelt Center Mall — one of the first planned shopping areas in the country, according to information from the Greenbelt Museum.
A part of the renovation process involves maintaining the historical look of the structure and its interior, an Art Deco style heralded in the original design.
While the theater is closed, city residents may attend free movie events hosted by the city on the Greenbelt Aquatic and Fitness Center Lawn through a program called Moonlit Movies.
The next showing is scheduled for Sept. 6, where the city will screen Singin’ in the Rain.