Residents Turn Out To Save Old Theatre
The Daily Review
Friday, February 5, 1999
By Carol E. Robinson - STAFF WRITER
SAN LORENZO -- More than 100 Eden-area residents have joined Larry Leal's quest to save the Lorenzo Theatre. But first they have to persuade owner Ashok Parmar to sell them the 52-year-old building.
The residents attended the first general meeting Wednesday night of the San Lorenzo Theater Association. Leal, a former San Lorenzo resident, spoke of the importance of buying and restoring the theater. "Tom Hanks said, 'In every life there comes a time when that dream you dream becomes that thing you do,' " Leal told the audience. "Let that theater be a beacon to a new and revitalized (San Lorenzo) Village Square."
A member of the San Lorenzo Area Youth Advisory Commission wanted the theatre to meet the needs of everyone. "We need to make this place not only for families, but for teen-agers so they can have a safe place to stay out of trouble," said Kayla Flossic, who attends San Lorenzo High School.
The first goal of the association is to raise money to meet Parmar's $400,000 asking price for the theatre, Leal said. "Up until (Wednesday night), it had been just me," Leal said Thursday. "I couldn't come from any position of strength. Now we actually have some power behind us. We're a real force now."
But Parmar's main priority is selling the building, which has been vacant since 1982, said agent Carl Walia with ERA WIN Realty in Union City. "I did talk to my seller a couple of days ago and he's still interested in selling it," Walia said Thursday. "Now he's in the process of refinancing the project. If there is an offer that comes in before he refinances the thing (within 45 to 75 days), he'll consider it. (The association) needs to put down some sort of written offer to start negotiating." Parmar did not disclose the purpose of the refinancing, Walia said. Parmar did not return calls placed Thursday for comment.
But the meeting audience was encouraged by the show of community spirit Wednesday night. "It was wonderful," said Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele, who represents San Lorenzo. "This really shows how many people are interested. All kinds of people are here. If everybody gets behind it, it can happen."