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City Council Approves Mills Act Contract for Saban Theatre

A new LED board, refurbished seats and a restored rotunda outline some of the upgrades proposed for the historic Beverly Hills theatre under the property tax reduction pilot program.

Credit: City of Beverly Hills
Credit: City of Beverly Hills
The Saban Theatre became the first Mills Act property designation in the city Tuesday night per the City Council's approval.

The historic theater on Wilshire Boulevard was recommended for the pilot program by the Cultural Heritage Commission, and the Mills Act designation offers a property tax reduction to owners of historic properties in Beverly Hills.


In exchange under the contract, the property owners agree to use the tax savings for preservation and restoration efforts. The contract is for a 10-year period with an automatic yearly extension.

Originally opening in 1930 as the Fox Wilshire, the Saban Theatre is still one of the most popular theaters in Beverly Hills.

"This is another milestone for the city," said Mayor John Mirisch, noting he's happy the Saban Theatre came first. "We ask others to consider the incentive. Hopefully there will be a lot more to follow in its footsteps."

Some of the work from the Mills Act contract for the Saban Theatre includes:
  • Provide a new LED board on the marquee, which will only be black and white lettering.
  • Upgrade and expand the HVAC system.
  • Provide a motorized lift for the orchestra pit.
  • Refurbish the historic seats in the balcony and mezzanine area.
  • Restore the main lobby rotunda
  • Design, fabricate and install removable seating.
Councilmember Nancy Krasne expressed some concern about the LED lighting to designer William Crouch being against city code, but learned the lighting will only be black and white, and only fade in and fade out, not flash.

" We're trying to strike a very careful balance between historic preservation and the code of city," Crouch said. "We also recognize, as many cities have done, creating a historic theater district does allow for the relaxation of certain regulations to preserve a theatrical structure than a historical monument, allowing it come to twenty-first century."

George Vreeland Hill April 03, 2014 at 05:01 PM
It is a beautiful place that must be preserved for our future generations to follow. After all, it is an historic part of Beverly Hills.

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