By Wayne Schutsky GSN Managing Editor
The Hale Centre Theatre is planning an extensive remodeling in downtown Gilbert’s Heritage District that would include a new façade and expanded facilities.
The theater, opened by David and Corrin Dietlein in 2003, currently has an understated brick façade facing Page Avenue just west of Gilbert Road.
The proposed redesign would include features inspired by early-20th-century playhouses, including a formal entry canopy and lighted vintage-style marquee.
The proposal includes imitation gaslights, vintage-style gooseneck lights and murals.
The theater became one of the first significant nighttime attractions in downtown Gilbert when it opened nearly 15 years ago.
Since then, the area has been transformed into a thriving district filled with locally owned restaurants and breweries.
The theater’s owner is seeking rezoning approval on the property that would allow for a 10,891-square-foot expansion, to include a dance studio, rehearsal space, offices, scene-production studio, costume storage and retail space, according to a Gilbert Redevelopment Commission memo.
The project would not meet minimum parking requirements for a development of its size.
So, the owners are seeking an administrative use permit to allow off-site public parking to meet the theater’s needs.
The theater’s planned expansion features a passenger loading zone directly in front on Page Avenue to accommodate theatergoers utilizing Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services.
The loading zone would result in the removal of 12 on-street parking spaces.
A representative for Hale Centre Theatre declined to comment on the expansion because the plans are not finalized.
The amendment to the original Hale Center Theatre development agreement, which includes the new zoning amendment, and the design review for the theater redesign and expansion, is scheduled to be heard by the Town Council at its June 21 meeting.
The Hale Center Theatre is among five independently owned and operated by members of the Hale and Dietlein family in Utah, California and Arizona.
The oldest, in Glendale, California, traces its roots to Nathan and Ruth Hale, who moved from Utah to California in 1945 to pursue careers in show business before opening the Glendale Centre Theatre in 1947.
The proposed expansion at Hale Centre Theatre in Gilbert pales in comparison to its sister theater in Sandy, Utah. That theater, which had been in West Valley City, debuted its $80 million facility last year, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
The project — which received $42 million in bond funding from the Sandy City Council — seats 900 in its Centre Stage Theatre that features a custom arena-style center stage.