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This is How Much It Will Cost to Renovate the Marianne Theater

How much to renovate the Marianne Theater?
 
$1.6 million.
 
That’s how much Bellevue city staff have estimated it will cost for a developer to rehabilitate the long-shuttered Marianne Theater movie house on Fairfield Avenue.
 
Assistant City Administrator Jody Robinson announced the figure at Wednesday night’s city council meeting, marking another step forward on the landmark’s path to rehabilitation. City staff first announced they were eyeing the property for development early this year, and council approved a plan for the city to purchase the building in March, a sale that eventually closed in June.
 
City Council members Steve Guidugli and Rodney Poynter, both re­elected earlier this month, were curious as to the exact nature of these costs. Robinson explained that, while staff is still gathering information about the exact nature of the rehab work that will need to be done, the building’s antiquated heating system is among a number of updates the building sorely needs.
 
“We’ll work as quickly as we can to get more information,” she assured Mayor Ed Riehl and City Council.
 
Poynter was particularly surprised by the figure, saying he’s spoken with some property developers in recent months about the project, who have indicated they might not be willing to make such an investment.
 
“How many serious inquisitors would you say the city’s had on this?,” Poynter asked.
 
Robinson said the city has been in preliminary talks with three developers who have shown “serious” interest, also calling the $1.6 million a “realistic”number, one with a lot of contingency built into it.
 
“This is probably going to need to be a tax credit project,” she said, referring to Covington’s Catalytic Development Fund as a source for what might be necessary to get the old cinema, which is currently being considered for national historic landmark status, into the hands of a developer.
 
Despite the projected costs, the community has proven to be rather outspoken about its affection and aspirations for the building, which came to a head at a public forum in late July to discuss what should be done with the theater.
 
The Marianne’s future was also a significant part of the mayoral and city council campaigns earlier this month.
 
Staff will be convening within the next few weeks to discuss next steps, Robinson said.
 
Written by Pat LaFleur, RCN contributor
 
Photo: Marianne Theater/RCN file