Cinema vows quick repairs
The projectors at Yuba City's Sutter Theatre may roll back to life in less than two weeks.
The Dec. 14 closing of the 55-year-old movie house has left a glaring gap on Plumas Street and put in doubt Theatrical Promotions Inc.'s future as the Sutter Theatre's operator. But the Santa Rosa firm aims to reopen the cinema by about Jan. 8, according to Daniel F. Tocchini, the company's chief executive.
Theatrical Promotions owned the three-screen cinema before selling it 18 months ago to local businessmen Russ Clark and John Tuscano and still runs it under a lease agreement.
Fire Department inspectors discovered extensive buckling of the roof, which allowed rainwater dangerously close to already frayed electrical wiring.
“We knew we had the roof problems,” Tocchini said Wednesday. “We had gotten some (repair) bids, and John was going to get a roofer - and then all of a sudden this came down.”
Building, health and fire officials on Wednesday called Theatrical Promotions' timeline a reachable goal, but noted the company must garner multiple permits from the city and county before the Sutter can reopen.
The theater requires city Building Division and Fire Department approval for its roof and wiring, as well as a clean bill of health from Sutter County Environmental Health.
The county agency suspended the Sutter's license to sell food after the inspection, which revealed rat and cockroach infestations.
Theatrical Promotions' promise to clean up the facility was welcome but overdue for Clark, who said he has urged the company for months to make repairs and purge the building of vermin.
“If you walked in and looked in some of the places, you could see them,” he said. “You opened a closet, you shined a light - yes, you saw the droppings, you saw those
things. Ninety percent of it is dark so you don't see a whole lot, but it was obvious when you turned on the lights.”
Repair work has not yet started, but Clark said a roofer has made a cost estimate for patching the roof, which all parties called the most urgent need.
“It's the building and fire departments (that the operators) need to make happy,” said Jeff Williams, the county's environmental health director. “Once they correct those problems, they can go to us and we can open them back up.”
The Sutter's forced shutdown cost its owners and managers the last 10 days of the Christmas season, a prime period for movie box-office earnings. It also has put pressure on Theatrical Promotions, whose lease at the Yuba City theater will run out June 17.
Clark has said the current lease requires the company to leave the Sutter “clean and operable” at lease's end.
Last week, Clark announced he would consider other candidates to run the cinema - such as Michael Wilkinson, owner of the Colusa Theatre since 1996.
Appeal-Democrat reporter Howard Yune can be reached at 749-4708. You may e-mail him at email@example.com.