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Staff Urges Full Demolition
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Riverbank's Economic Development & Housing Director Tim Ogden has advised full demolition of the Del Rio Theater plus the adjacent Reed's Garage. The Riverbank Redevelopment Agency was due to take action on this recommendation at its meeting on Tuesday, May 26. The normal Monday meeting was moved to Tuesday due to the observance of the Memorial Day holiday, with the meeting hosted past press time for The News.

The Agency had directed staff on April 13 to bring back estimates on the costs for demolishing the entire Del Rio Theater structure, a partial demolition of just the auditorium where the structural deficiencies exist, and demolition of the former Reed's Garage.

Staff had contacted three firms, Ogden said in his report to the council, and the average estimates were $12,500 for demolition of the garage, $88,000 for full demolition of the Del Rio Theater and $77,000 for partial demolition of the Theater.

Partial demolition of the theater may cost more than $320,000 including architectural and engineering services, costs for shoring of the south wall, utility relocation, permits and imported grade fill, according to one firm. All three firms were doubtful about guaranteeing a partial demolition would be possible or that the northern side of the building would not be adversely impacted during demolition.

Engineers Buehler & Buehler Inc. have estimated the cost of repairing structural deficiencies such as split and failing roof trusses, dry rot and water damage in the south part of the building at about $1 million.

Having heard the engineer's report in March, the Downtown Revitalization Committee recommended the Agency consider demolishing the entire site, salvaging the marquee and rebuilding the structure with historical elements reminiscent of the original building when funding becomes available.

The Agency bought the 1940s building in 2007 for $1.7 million with the idea of rehabilitating it as a performing arts center and anchor for current downtown revitalization. The Agency originally set aside $1 million for repairs but some of that fund has since been used for other redevelopment work.

The Agency bought the garage building at the same time for potential use as parking for the downtown.