How many seats will the theater have?
235 seats in the Main Theater and 40-50 moveable seats in the upstairs theater that can be used for meetings and video conferences
What type of movies will you show?
We will show indie movies and movies that are not first run
What types of entertainment will be available at the Theater beside movies?
The stage will allow us to host plays, live music, and dance. Additionally the space may be made available for large corporate meeting or for use by the school district or other nonprofits.
What work has been done so far?
Novato Theater was built in 1946 and was not close to meeting any building code let alone today’s ADA requirements. The original components from the exterior facade were removed and stored but the rest required extensive demolition and disposal, including hazardous waste. A new foundation has been completed including new utilities below the slab. A new water service for the fire sprinklers is in place. As a part of this work the building has been extended approximately 30’ to accommodate the new stage and exiting. Design, engineering, construction plan preparation and permitting for the entire theater is all completed.
When will work begin again?
Work will begin again when we have all the funds necessary to complete and open the theater. We have over $1.5M in pledges we need approximately $2.8M to achieve that based on 2018’s budget reassessment of construction and includes an operating contingency of $0.5M, ensuring the first three years of operations.
How long will it take to complete the work once you start?
It should take about 9-12 months to finish the work.
How is fundraising going?
It has been a progressive activity, slower than hoped but making progress. Phase 1 construction cost $1.4M, and is paid for. Currently we have over $1.5 million in pledges that are tied to the final funding of the entire project. We are now seeking to secure a further $2.8 million to complete the project. That sum includes a $0.5M contingency to cover start-up operating expenses while the theater builds its audience over the first three years. Novato Theater has no debt.
Will the Novato Theater partner with the Mill Valley Film Festival?
Yes! The Novato Theater is a confirmed future venue for the Mill Valley Film Festival!
Where will I park to attend events at the Theater?
There is lots of on-site street parking available Downtown and we have spaces available at City Hall offices—both in the garage and surface lot (after business hours). There is also parking in the Whole Foods lot (covered & free!)
Take a look at the attached study regarding parking in Downtown Novato. http://www.marinij.com/general-news/20180402/novato-study-counters-complaints-of-parking-shortage
Why don’t you get a private developer to take over the project?
That strategy was tried between 2004 and 2008 by the City of Novato at a time when the City owned the property. A balance between community objectives and commercial developer autonomy could not be found and in June 2008 the City Council voted 3-2 to terminate discussions.
The Mayor at the time, Pat Ekland, was quoted “I think our community is anxious for a film or performing arts venue and the council will develop a strategy to make it happen.” That eventual strategy was to sell to the current Novato Theater a 501(c)(3), effectively outsourcing the effort to a new non-profit company.
Can the project be scaled back in cost?
The first concepts were developed prior to 2004 by a previous and unconnected group on the same mission as us today. The current Novato Theater, in recognizing the challenge ahead, pared back the original concepts. We we have a very cost effective solution to the structure and internal finishes. The board has made great effort to gain favorable rates for construction and we are grateful to those companies who are putting back into our community.
Why did you begin construction when you didn’t have all the money?
Campaigns need momentum and it was felt that action would encourage the rate of donations. Secondly the NT board expected building costs to grow significantly in the forthcoming years. The outcome was that donations did not sufficiently increase to close the gap between pledges on hand and total funds needed to complete construction of the theater and support start up operational costs. The silver lining being at today’s construction prices the work completed to date would likely cost $300k more.