Vancouver's Rio Theatre wins month-long reprieve to raise mortgage down payment

VANCOUVER - The operator of one of Vancouver's last independent movie theatres says fundraising efforts will continue after the landlord extended a deadline to save the Rio Theatre from developers.

Corinne Lea broke the news late Monday, at the end of a 30-hour fundraising blitz to raise $1 million in a crowdfunding campaign.

The million-dollar goal was in addition to $2 million Lea and her business partner must raise from private investors in order to remove subjects and obtain a $3 million mortgage on the east Vancouver venue.

"I asked my landlord for an extension because I could see that we had lots of support from the community and everything was coming together but we were just running out of time. So he has granted us another month extension," Lea said in an interview Tuesday.

Supporters have until May 7 to raise the funds from private investors, and Lea said those talks were "going pretty good."

The new deadline for the crowdfunding campaign is April 16. It had pulled in almost $390,000 by early Tuesday, making Lea optimistic that it would reach its goal.

"I know we had 22,000 people sign the petition to support buying the property and only 4,000 people have actually donated. So I know that we have more Rio fans out there who have not yet donated," she said.

The crowdfunding campaign must end two weeks before the May 7 deadline in order to process the pledges and finalize all the legal documents, Lea explained.

Zoning changes attracted developers who want to tear down The Rio for a new project, she said in early February while announcing acceptance of an offer to buy the building.

Lea has never revealed the offer price, but has said it was higher than the $4 million assessed value of the building.

The 80-year-old Rio is beloved for running independent films and also hosting burlesque, comedy, improv and variety shows.

The rejuvenated theatre marks its tenth anniversary on May 1, just days before the deadline for the down payment. Lea said a major celebration was planned.


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