New roof first step to restoring Rivoli Theatre

December 26, 2013
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One of the first significant steps in restoring the historic but dilapidated Rivoli Theatre on the city’s near-east side is almost finished.

Officials of the not-for-profit that owns the building, the Rivoli Center for the Performing Arts Inc., say a new roof should be installed on the building by the first of the year.

A Community Development Block Grant covered $300,000 of the cost. The group also received a $40,000 loan from Indiana Landmarks.

“Clearly, getting a roof on the building has been one of our major priorities,” said Mark Dollase, Indiana Landmarks’ vice president of preservation services and a director of the Rivoli Center. “This is huge for us and hopefully for the community, because we eventually want the building to serve some sort of purpose for the east side.”

The group has a long way to go, however. The total cost to renovate the Rivoli could run $5 million, with much of that still needing to be raised.

Next up on the group’s wish list: restoring the original marquee and the sign that sits above it, both of which date to the post-World War II era. Cost is estimated at about $100,000, Dollase said.

The building at 3155 E. 10th St. has been vacant since 1992. But the building’s supporters hope the new roof is the first step in revitalizing what was once the neighborhood’s crown jewel. It was built in 1927 as a single-screen movie house by Universal Pictures, seating 1,500.

“The ideal thing would be to restore it as it was in 1927, as a single-screen theater,” Dollase said. “But it’s highly unlikely in today’s market, the way movie theaters are done, a single-screen theater most likely couldn’t survive in that setting.”

A more logical use for the building might be an art center or restaurant, he said.
 

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  • Wonderfully exciting news!
    This is great as so many have been working hard for this (but none as hard as Mark). Congratulations on the first steps in an amazing and worthwhile project
  • seems pricey
    I get that this is a historic site, and yes, the neighborhood could use the help. $5 Million for a restaurant though? Please tell me he was kidding.
    • Agree with Charlie
      Totally agree with Charlie. $5 Million dollars towards a historically insignificant building is a lot of cash. Step back and look at that building and is there anything really worth saving other than memories? Tear 'er down and use the cash for a better purpose. In a perfect world, restore it at any expense. But in the real world, that cash has a better use than restoring that old building.
    • Sydney Roof Restoration
      Without regular maintenance, it will start to deteriorate. Once it starts to deteriorate, it will no longer be able to give your home the protection that it needs. Rain may begin to seep in and damage other parts of the house.

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    1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

    2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

    3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

    4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

    5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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