The restoration of Garden Grove’s Gem Theater inched forward Tuesday night, when the city council agreed to spend nearly $50,000 on new lighting for the Main Street venue.
At the same time, Josh McIntosh, a fourth-generation resident, asked the council to make a historic landmark out of the nearly 100-year-old theater, a move he said is key to its preservation.
“Generations of Grovers have enjoyed theater since its opening,” McIntosh said. “My grandparents went to the movies there. This is a chance for the city to show we do care about our history.”
McIntosh presented the council with a petition of 146 signatures of locals and out-of-towners. Signers not only want the theater restored, they also want to see other entertainment, like movies there.
Estimates now put the much-delayed reopening of the theater, which was damaged in a 2011 fire, as sometime in the spring, perhaps in March (see story this page).
Now with the council’s go-ahead, low-bidder J.C. Entertainment Lighting Services will install $49,867.69 worth of equipment in the 155-seat venue.
Also Tuesday, the council approved a three-year development extension for the Embassy Suites on Harbor Boulevard. The extension will give the hotel time to find financing for a planned expansion, which will include a 17-story tower and 56,000 square feet of banquet and meeting rooms.
Municipal code allows for a one-year extension, but at staff recommendation, the council agreed to stretch that to three years.
With the project, the developer will pay the city a fee of $706,054.
Contact the writer on Twitter at @nicolekshine.