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The Plaza Theatre Foundation Inc. last week launched a GoFundMe seeking $50,000 in donations, a rep for the crowdfunding platform told What Now Atlanta in an email Tuesday. The funds are being raised to assist in financing the restoration of the historic theatre.
“The Plaza Theatre Foundation has set up a GoFundMe to help restore, preserve and share Atlanta’s historic theatre for the community,” the GoFundMe rep said. As of publication, the campaign has already raised over $8,400
Phase One of the restoration is already underway. Plans call for two 40-seat auditoriums where the balcony is located. Other projects include a ticket booth at the entrance, an art-deco concession stand and bar, and a backstage dressing room and green room space with bathrooms for VIP guests. One of the most exciting additions is a rooftop bar with an elevator, reception space, an outdoor screen with a 360-degree view of the city.
“The foremost priority of the plaza theatre foundation is to restore, preserve and share Atlanta’s historic plaza theatre for the artistic, educational, and charitable benefit of its community,” Christopher Escobar, the theatre’s owner, said in a prepared statement. “It achieves this purpose by encouraging and promoting the activities of the plaza theater. It also raises funds to enhance the space by restoration and renovations and supplement the operation expenses when necessary. The foundation networks with local and student filmmakers to provide the unique opportunity for them to showcase their films in front of a live audience at a working, established movie theater.”
In total, the restoration is expected to cost $4,000,000 and arrives as the theatre enters its new 25-year lease (the longest in the theatre’s over 80-year history).
Since 1939, the plaza theatre has been both a classic art-deco landmark and a cornerstone of the Poncey-Highland community. Designed by architect George Harwell Bond, it is the last cinema of its kind in Atlanta, as well as the oldest continuously operating locally-owned cinema in the city, according to the campaign.
In restoring the theatre, the team is “borrowing from some of the designs the first concessions stand looked like when it was put in 10 years into the Plaza’s operations in 1949.” As shown in the below drawing, “you’ll notice it will include a more Art Deco streamline look to the concessions counter including overhang, demoing a storage room that was added in the 80s to make room for a proper bar and adding more tables and seats for pre/post movie space, reinstalling a set of doors where there would’ve been back in 1939 and finally removing the current drop ceiling for a more 1939-period appropriate one.”