Fate of Cerrito Theater to Be Decided

Thursday April 30, 2009 - 07:33:00 PM

The El Cerrito City Council is expected to decide the future of the Cerrito Theater Monday night, May 4. This will be the council’s first public meeting on the theater since it was revealed that the current operators, Speakeasy Theaters, have fallen behind on rent. 

The council has repeatedly affirmed its intention to maintain the Cerrito as a movie theater, whether with the current operators or with a new company. The city has determined that running the theater as a cinema with food service is a viable business and is working with Speakeasy to develop a plan by which the theater can stay in business, whether under the management of Speakeasy or another entity. 

Friends of the Cerrito Theater, a community organization founded in 2002 to help restore and reopen the theater, but with no official connection to either Speakeasy or the city, has voiced its support for the continuing operation of the theater. 

Speakeasy closed down the company’s flagship operation, Oakland’s Parkway Theater, March 22, citing the economic downturn and disputes with the landlord over rent. 

The meeting will take place at 7:30 p.m. Monday night at City Hall, 10890 San Pablo Ave., El Cerrito. The agenda for the meeting, with a staff report outlining the issues and the background, will be available Thursday, April 30, at www.el-cerrito.org/gov.