The new owners of the Rheem Theatre have submitted plans to attach a 4,113 square-foot addition to the rear of the existing cinema, bringing two new auditoriums into play and increasing the number of screens available to patrons from four to six.
Workers are currently refitting the slightly tatty Neon Lady – which has served as Rheem’s most identifiable landmark since 1957 – with better seating and other upgrades the new owners hope will prove attractive to local movie fans. If approved, the new construction would erase some of the parking stalls to the immediate rear of the theatre, though initial reports from town planners don’t regard that as a significant issue.
If approved, the new 4,113 square-foot ground-level addition would have a maximum height of just over 30 feet – well below the cinema’s current 42 foot facade. Owners have told planners the addition would be painted to match the building’s current color scheme.
The theatre would have a total number of 559 seats when work is completed, 99 fewer than in it’s most recent configuration, but apparently they are larger and more comfortable. No word on the cup holders so many of you have asked about.
The number of parking spaces at the rear of the building would dwindle from 40 to 29, but with less seating parking becomes less of an issue and is not expected to present a problem for planners.
Moraga’s Planning Commission is poised to review the proposal at their October 21 meeting.