At recent meetings with the architect of a proposed new development adjacent to the Hollywood Theatre, concerns were raised by theater operators about the 5-story mixed-use building’s design. Taking a very proactive stance, the theater has proposed an alternative footprint for the new building as a way to meet the needs of the neighborhood, while also preserving views of the Hollywood Theatre’s wonderful facade.

Thanks to Doug Whyte, Executive Director of the Hollywood Theatre, for sharing this information.

Here is the text of the Hollywood Theatre’s response:

“The proposed project by Myhre Group and Creston Homes promises to bring more life to the commercial core of the Hollywood neighborhood. It is a great opportunity to densify a city neighborhood while taking advantage of nearby public transit and local goods and services. This project undertakes to bring an influx of patrons within steps of local businesses, supporting a community that has been a gateway to inner Portland for more than a century. 

At the heart of this business core is the Hollywood Theatre, for which the neighborhood is named. It is one of the last examples of atmospheric theatres left in Oregon, and is an important Portland landmark. The theatre provided an escape for residents from war and depression through both live vaudeville performances as well as early film. It was a focal point for the community, both by providing a venue for community–based events and also as a visual landmark in the landscape of the neighborhood. Today the theatre is becoming that focal point again, for the local neighborhood and Portland as a whole. 

We believe the proposed project could go further in respecting the theatre and its importance to the community. The current proposal does not relate in scale to the theater and will significantly obscure the terra cotta façade, the most widely recognized feature of the theatre, as one travels east on Sandy Blvd.The Hollywood Theatre would like to suggest that a cue be taken from the past; more specifically the Arcade building that once stood on the site of the now vacant lot. 

The building next door to the theatre kept the street edge but at midpoint of the lot turned at an angle to meet the theatre behind the marquee, providing an outdoor vestibule or anteroom to the lobby of the theatre. As seen in the photograph above it was used for events and for people lining up to get into the theatre. The scale of the adjoining building is two story immediately next to the theatre and takes a cue on height from the terra cotta façade. The two story wing, along with the two story retail to the east of the theatre entry, would help to bracket and frame the intricate façade. In addition, access to the courtyard could be maintained with a street level passageway from the Sandy side. The two story wing roof could also be used as a rooftop garden for residents, a unique amenity for rental properties (see diagram below). The new building, done in a light or buff colored brick, would blend in with the theatre and other buildings in its proximity. 

The Hollywood Theatre feels that the proposed building design could be adjusted to emulate this historic approach, deferring to the theatre on its east side and helping to ensure the theatre’s role as a landmark in the neighborhood and the city for years to come.”

Here is an image of their proposed modified design:

In this modified design, note that a portion of the new building could be turned in order to preserve the view of the theater's Sandy Blvd. facade.