The Los Gatos Theater is getting a new operator and could be open to the public again soon.
Los Gatos Town Council voted Tuesday to make CineLux Theatres, a theater management company, the new operators of the downtown theater for the next five years.
“I just can’t express enough how appreciative we are to be taking over this landmark,” CineLux President Paul Gunsky said. “We had the opportunity to work with the Goetz family as they reopened the theater, and I’ve been in this business my entire life.”
The operators will be responsible for daily operations and engaging the community through events and programs. Under the contract, the town will receive 5% of the theater’s gross revenue.
The town also stipulated in the proposal bid that the new operators must open their doors to nonprofit organizations for fundraising events at least six times a year.
“We wanted to set a minimum baseline of philanthropic activities, but that doesn’t preclude the CineLux team from doing more than that,” assistant town manager Arn Andrews said.
Heidi Boynton, a Santa Cruz resident and executive director of Jacob’s Heart Children’s Cancer Support Services, said she’s worked with Gunsky to host fundraisers at other theater locations in the South Bay.
“He’s been tireless in his pursuit to support Jacob’s Heart; he’s a shining example of how a businessperson can use their resources to ensure the community is cared for,” Boynton said.
Under the lease agreement, the town agreed not to charge CineLux rent for the first year, and to charge $5,000 the second year and $10,000 the third.
CineLux is the largest independent regional theater operator in the South Bay and has more than 55 years of experience. It has acquired and operates seven previously closed or failed theaters with a total of 53 screens.
The town took over operations at the Los Gatos Theater last November after its previous owners, the Goetz family, donated it to the town.
The historic theater is more than 100 years old, and the Goetz family purchased the building in 2011 and restored it before reopening it to the public in 2014. It has been closed since March 2020 because of the pandemic.
“I could not get over the level of upgrades that were put into this magnificent theater. It is in better shape than it has ever been, and to have this opportunity to come in and be the steward going forward is quite an honor,” Gunsky said.
The town issued a request for proposals from theater management companies in February.
The theater has been a fixture in the community since 1915 when it opened as the Strand Theater. It was remodeled in 1929 with an art deco look, featuring a marquee and murals. In the 190’s it became the Los Gatos Theater.
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