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Tower Theatre Update

TOWER THEATRE THE NEXT 100 YEARS

The Tower Theatre won't be open in 2023 but read below for our planning update.

Our deep gratitude goes out to all who have inquired about and have continued to love the Tower. We know how important the Tower is to cinematic preservation and consequently to the 9th and 9th community. Throughout 2022, and into this year, your continued support in attending SLFS films and events at our Broadway location, and your donations in support of our mission to exhibit, create, and preserve the art of cinema, has been a key success factor in building a future for the Tower. We know that many of you feared the Tower might close permanently. We’re happy to say that SLFS is 100% committed to the preservation of this unique and wonderful gem of a venue. 

PURCHASE OF THE TOWER

Tori signing resized smaller
Tori Baker, CEO/President, signs for ownership of The Tower Theatre in December 2022.

SLFS has been operating the Tower Theatre since we formed our nonprofit 23 years ago. As a donor-supported cinema, we continued with relatively short leases which renewed repeatedly. There were restrictions on what we could do with the building since we did not own it. We are happy to announce that in December of 2022, and thanks to a generous grant from Alternative Visions Fund, SLFS has purchased the Tower Theatre location. 

 

This is monumental to the preservation mission goals of SLFS. We intend to ensure cinematic adventures continue at the Tower for generations to come. The Tower has always been part of our founding story, and our mission. By securing the building ownership, SLFS and our allies can now look towards neighborhood collaboration to build a vision that preserves the unique character of the Tower, supports the 9th & 9th economic viability, and harnesses the archive video/DVD collection for film preservation and education. 

 

This purchase allows for the Tower to have a fresh start. Therefore, we are happily turning away from previously-reported cosmetic improvement plans to begin serious long-term visioning for the Tower. We’ve named our new initiative “Tower Theatre: The Next 100 years.”

REMODELS, RENOVATIONS, and VISIONING for the TOWER THEATRE

Our inspiration is to repair and renovate the 1928 Tower Theatre as an environmentally responsible hub for cultural, nostalgic, modern, and uncensored cinematic experiences. As an economic and cultural anchor in 9th and 9th , the Tower will remain a safe haven for underrepresented voices and individuals who love to explore new ideas and tastes through the cinematic lens. 

  

This treasured movie theater, the oldest single-screen in Utah dedicated solely to film, represents a cultural cinematic landmark that demands to be preserved for future generations. SLFS intends to trailblaze environmental responsibility in theatrical exhibition and serve community through historic, contemporary, unique technological film screenings, plus offer and grow our world-class and highly rare archive. Additionally, we plan to provide museum-like exhibits that access nostalgia for our past and celebrate the future of the medium of film. 

 

Embarking on this adventure will take time, stakeholder support, and fundraising.  We do not anticipate the Tower opening in 2023 for this reason.  However, you may see us making some essential repairs throughout the process. We will keep the public posted. Through this visioning process we are committed to protecting the Tower’s legacy and remaining true to the spirit of the Tower.  SLFS has always had the Tower at the heart of our cinematic mission and will continue to honor its texture, personality, and purpose throughout the visioning process. After all, the first cinema in Utah to have air-conditioning, and talkies, deserves to see the light of the projector lamp never go dark.  

WHAT CAN BE RENOVATED?

SLFS has formed an advisory committee of stakeholders and local business leaders to help envision the future of the Tower and what is possible regarding environmental and neighborhood sustainability.  SLFS plans to make the Tower renovations a community project that includes engaging local business at 9th and 9th, checking in with neighbors (you may be hearing from us soon), stakeholders, and patrons, and igniting the passion of cinema-lovers from far and wide.  We will update the public with current news periodically on this web page and through our social media channels.

 

Taking on the Tower project in a  post-pandemic arts recovery climate is ambitious. Still, SLFS firmly commits to visioning for the Tower’s next 100 years. Our goal is for the Tower to be Salt Lake Film Society’s premiere film venue for director/actor Q&A’s, cultural and environmental films, panel discussions, archival film access, and various SLFS film programs that support the appreciation for the motion picture arts. We are home to the largest video/DVD archive collection in Utah. The Tower is made by community for community, and will remain accessible to all, a movie house and visiting center where people can learn about and talk about their love of cinema.  

REPAIRS UNDERWAY

  1. Tower Marquee: 

The Tower Marquee was retrofitted to repair the rain leaks, protect new electrical installations, and to improve the rain/weathering.  This repair can only be seen from the top of the marquee, but was essential. 

  1. Rain Gutters: 

New rain gutters were installed, allowing for more efficient drainage from the rooftop, assisting with water collection and leaking issues.  

  1. Roofing repairs

Along with rain gutter repairs, roofing repairs have taken place that have sealed the exterior. 

  1. Interior sealing: 

Interior sealing of brick, concrete and water entry points has been completed 

  1. Lobby: 

Demolition of the lobby has been completed, allowing access to plumbing and electrical that will be needed for a new lobby layout as well as planning steps towards an ADA accessible bathroom. 

THANK YOU, & HOW TO SUPPORT

At this time, we are reaching out to foundational donors. If you, your business or estate would like to be involved in the Tower Theatre: Next 100 Years project, please contact Marcie Collett at marciecollett@saltlakefilmsociety.org. 

We can arrange a tour, answer your questions and introduce you to the community team working on the project.

Our sincere gratitude to all who have donated, who have engaged with us, and who continue to love the mission work at SLFS to exhibit, create, and preserve the cinematic experience. 

With love, 

SLFS staff, board, advisory committees, and volunteers at SLFS

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