Recently, Councilwoman Ann Schwab asked that the City Council agendize the “El Rey issue”, at the request of constituents. The city was charged to discover if they could protect the theater as a historical resource for the city of Chico. In response, the city stated that the El Rey Theater is within a historical overlay zone, and acknowledged that the interior murals are historically significant. Information was also provided during the Council meeting proving that the El Rey is currently the oldest continuously operated movie theater in the state and third in the U.S. Any changes to the theater would be subject to the usual procedure for historic buildings in this district. It was also stated that the city does, in fact, have the jurisdiction to declare the El Rey a city landmark.
The El Rey Theater Alliance, a non-profit corporation, is currently negotiating a possible purchase of the theater with the current owner. It never was, or ever has been, suggested that the City of Chico purchase the building, or force the current owners to maintain a business that they no longer want. We are dedicated to finding solutions that work for everyone, and will continue to do so tirelessly in order to keep the El Rey intact, restored, and vibrantly serving our community.
Lisa West, President
El Rey Theater Alliance