It doesn’t look like Moragans will be able to get a sundae with their Sunday movie, but if things pan out they may be able to order up some suds to lubricate that retro showing of “Animal House.”
A recent decision to put the area’s two landmark theaters on the market in two separate deals has led to some interesting prospects for the Rheem location, according to the property agent charged with finding an appropriate tenant for the space. Moragan Dave Schnayer said Friday that talks to bring a Fentons Creamery to Rheem hit an initial roadblock but are still alive after a joint venture possibility was tendered, but that the real interest appears to be in a Moviehouse/Brew Pub hybrid model popular in college towns.
Schnayer said he is also fielding questions from investors keen to keep Rheem’s “Neon Lady” shining bright. Half a dozen live theater companies have also expressed interest, he said, but the strongest contenders in a slowly escalating bid to acquire the Rheem’s marquee and all that goes with it have emerged from Oakland and here at home in Contra Costa County – with two groups floating the Brew Pub and Cinema concept.
“The challenge for them is in their cost to upgrade the facility to meet their needs,” he said. “So while the brew pub concept may be attractive, you’re facing a considerable bill to upgrade your sewers and other infrastructure to meet the needs of pub business in a site that only had popcorn and soda.”
While a downtown brew pub location might appeal to many here, Schnayer readily points out, an additional challenge lies in Moraga’s demographics – with the question being if its population would support the business, or if the business would draw sufficient patronage from the surrounding area to eventually become a going concern and keep its investors happy.