Under Vintage and Shomof’s preliminary plan, presented to South Pasadena’s Cultural Heritage Commission last week. three more screens would be tucked into the space under the Rialto’s existing balcony, and those theaters would feature updated screens, sound systems, and projection technology, but “[t]he experience from the balcony and the front half of the auditorium would be unchanged.” All the historic elements inside the Rialto, like its murals and plaster details, which need tons of attention after years and years of neglect, would be fully restored. (The Rialto has been totally closed to the public since 2010, when a chunk of the building’s exterior fell off.) “We intend to restore and renovate the look and feel of the venue, and will not remove anything unless it is required by law or if it requires replacement or replication,” Vintage Cinemas owner Lance Alspaugh told the commission.
That informational presentation is just the beginning of what will probably be a long process.