Theater planned to replace Hollywood Arbutus movie house, landmark destroyed by fire

February 05, 1996|By Lisa Respers | Lisa Respers,SUN STAFF

A modern movie house with a familiar-looking facade is being planned for the site of the Hollywood Theater, a 60-year-old Arbutus landmark destroyed by fire last year.

Scott Cohen, president of film for the R/C Theaters chain, said its new movie house will have 500 seats -- the same number the Hollywood had before it burned -- and four screens instead of two.

"We're going to attempt to put the exterior almost as close to the one we had before," he said. "What we want to offer is better sound and better pictures for the same price."

The Hollywood, in the 5500 block of Oregon Avenue, was the center of the Arbutus community, which turned out en masse for its final, spectacular show Oct. 15. -- many taking home scarred bricks from the rubble as mementos.

Rebuilding has been slow because the company has to go through the necessary county agencies and processes, Mr. Cohen said. County officials have been supportive because they know how important the theater was to the community, he said.

"A lot of people want us to rush and rebuild, but there is a process we must go through first," Mr. Cohen said.

Bill Hughey, the county planner for Arbutus, said an architect and engineer hired by the theater chain visited his office two months ago with a rough sketch of the new theater but have not formally submitted plans.

Meanwhile, the community eagerly awaits the theater's return.

"For the young people this was a place where they could go and be entertained," said Robert Latham, president of the Arbutus Community Alliance.

"A new theater with four screens could provide an economic boost for the area," he said.

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