Final curtain for historic cinema
Wellington’s oldest cinema – the Paramount on Courtenay Place – will celebrate its centenary before its doors close.
Cinema Paramount (CPL) director Janet Carson said the historic theatre would cease operating in September.
‘‘After 100 years, we’re gutted to be the ones closing the door. It’s hard,’’ she said.
Carson said the business had not been kicked out of its premises. Its current lease, which expires in May, had been extended until September by negotiation with the landlord.
‘‘We just couldn’t come to an agreement on a lease that would keep our business viable. We could not reach terms that were acceptable to both parties for a renewal.’’
Carson said the theatre would keep its commitments to current festivals – including July’s International Film Festival – and venue hirers until September.
‘‘We were keen to continue on at this site. The theatre is iconic and it has always been our dream to see it continue. We have owned the Paramount for 15 years.’’
Until the cinema’s doors shut, it would be ‘‘business as usual, with our eclectic selection of movies and events continuing’’.
‘‘On behalf of the other CPL shareholders ... we are proud to have kept the Paramount going as a lively venue for the best of cinema – as well as other events and live gigs – since we took over in 2002. It has not always been easy, but it has been a solid business and we have loved every minute of it.’’
Carson said details of the theatre’s send-off and 100-year celebration would be released soon.
In June, the Paramount – situated in the heart of the capital’s party zone – was granted resource consent to develop a four-star hotel accommodating up to 46 guests. That permit is valid for five years.
Property manager Alan Blundell said the idea for a boutique hotel had been a ‘‘plan B’’ and there were no concrete plans for the site’s future.
Primed for redevelopment, the property – which also features ground-floor retail space – was listed for sale last year. However, Blundell said November’s Kaikoura quake disrupted its marketing of that opportunity.
The owner would be looking for alternative uses for the building once the Paramount had vacated.
Built in 1917, the Paramount theatre will close in September after a century of near continuous operation in the capital.
The Courtenay Place venue in 1923.