Ed Yeates ReportingThe historic Villa Theatre is about to come alive again. While it won't be what you remember, the new owner is promising to preserve it, but in a new way.
The weeds are growing and the paint fading, but not for long if a pending sale of this historic building is finalized - perhaps as early as the end of this week.
Today inside the Villa Theatre all the seats are gone, so is the magnificent cinerama screen that was once there. But this huge auditorium, though vacant, has not seen its day yet. In fact the sounds of entertainment are about to return again.
While it won't be the menu the Villa grew up on in its heyday - it will be refurbished and restored for live stage productions, perhaps as another venue for Salt Lake Community College productions. There could also be dancing out there, and more.
While the new owners would not tell us specifics, they say the building will become an entertainment center for a number of functions. But no matter what, the look, the feel, the facade will all be preserved. In their words, one of the most remarkable projects they've worked on.
There will be more development north and west of the building, but it will all revolve around a single icon - the Villa.
Kirk Huffaker, Utah Heritage Foundation: "We think this is a suitable use and has the potential to keep this national register eligible building in use and open to the public."
And from consumer advocates like Grant Smith who directs the Villa historical website...
"I would rather see it as a move theatre, but I’m not going to object if they do something else that preserves the historical nature of the building."
The sale to the new owner is still pending but expected to be finalized by the end of this week. If so, the owner says they could begin work on the Villa within two weeks.