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Liquor licence for Vancouver’s heritage Hollywood Theatre headed to council

An artist's rendering of the proposed development. Marianne Amodio Architecture Studio

Vancouver’s city manager is recommending council back a liquor licence for Kitsilano’s iconic Hollywood Theatre.

The the Art Deco-style structure at 3123-3129 Broadway was designated a heritage building last year.

Council approved a plan to preserve the theatre in exchange for permitting a six-storey condo development by Bonnis Properties next door in July, 2018.

READ MORE: Deal to save Vancouver’s iconic Hollywood Theatre heads to public hearing

City staff are supporting a proposed a liquor primary licence application made by Blue Diamond Hospitality, which would operate the space on behalf of owner Hollywood Theatres Ltd.

The application calls for a maximum capacity of 594 people, with liquor only to be sold during scheduled, pre-booked events.

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It would see hours of operation limited from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday to Thursday, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday during a six-month probationary period.

It would also require the theatre to sign a “good neighbour” agreement with the city, committing to making the space available to local non-profit arts and culture organizations at cost.

READ MORE: Kitsilano holds out hope Hollywood Theatre will be saved

The city says it received 215 pieces of public feedback regarding the liquor licence, with 163 in support and 49 in opposition.

The Hollywood was built in 1935 and designed by Harold Cullerene, who designed the first PNE Prize Home.

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It remains in nearly original condition, with “exotic” features including hieroglyphic decorations, inset scrolled figures, its original frameless glass ticket booth and a prominent marquee.

READ MORE: Rio Theatre campaign given 1 more month to buy the building

The theatre operated for more than 75 years, and was one of the last venues using 35mm film when it shut down in 2011.

It operated briefly as a church in 2012, and Bonnis proposed redeveloping it into a fitness centre the following year.

The new theatre’s business plan would see it operated as a for-profit business by long-time entertainment producers Sean Mawhinney and David Hawkes, along with developer Dino Bonnis who serves as Hollywood Theatres Ltd.’s director.

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Council is set to hear the staff report Wednesday.

If the city backs the licence, it will go to the Liquor Control and Licencing Branch for final approval.

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