After a campaign that began on the heels of an announcement that the building was listed for sale and could be redeveloped, supporters of The Rio Theatre have until midnight tonight to raise just over $660,000 to reach their $1 million goal and buy the iconic East Vancouver venue themselves.
News that the building was for sale broke in late January, and since then a slew of supporters (including Kevin Smith, who played two shows, and Ryan Reynolds who personally donated) have put forth efforts to reach their purchasing goal.
An online fundraising campaign has been in progress as well, with $339,271 raised at the time of this writing.
According to a recent CBRE listing, the 50 ft. wide, 6,350 sq. ft. site has “strong assembly potential” for “high density residential” spaces and could potentially accommodate a building up to 10 storeys in height, based on the municipal government’s 2016-approved Grandview-Woodland Community Plan.
However, the plan also stipulates that the City will “consider applications for additional height, density, and relaxations on the Rio Theatre and sites directly adjacent to it, in order to support renewal and expansion of the cultural facility.”
As well, theatre operator Corinne Lea, who leases the site from landlord Leonard Schein, says she will put up a good fight to save the venue from demolition.
“I want to reassure you all that the Rio is not going anywhere as long as we have anything to say about it!” said Lea in a Facebook post, adding that her lease on the property will not expire for another eight years.
“Yes it’s true The Rio property is for sale and is in danger of being developed and turned into a multiplex. But we have plans to buy it, so we can save it from being torn down.”