Want to see the Parkway Theater reopened? Donate to help make it happen

You guys have read about The New Parkway, right? There was a story about it last month on Oakland North and a story in the Trib about it last week:

The Parkway Theater could be close to reopening more than a year after the screen went dark and the last beer was sipped on its spongy sofas.
The prospective owners — New Parkway Entertainment LLC — announced Tuesday that a deal could be less than two weeks away.

A lease with the landlord hasn’t been signed. But the new manager, J Moses Ceaser, said they are close to the finish line. For now the group is calling the cinema The New Parkway, or just Parkway for short.

Once the lease is signed, New Parkway Entertainment will be able to turn its attention to raising the $400,000 needed to reopen. Officials hope to raise the money from equity investors and donors. The doors could reopen as soon as May if they get the lease signed in December.

And that $400,000 they need to get the theater up and running? That’s where you come in.


Do you guys know about Kickstarter? I think it is a really cool idea. If you haven’t used it before, here’s how it works. An organization trying to raise money will set a fundraising goal and some amount of time in which they think they can accomplish it. People who want to support the project pledge whatever about they’re willing to give. Then a running total of the funds raised as well as how many donors there have been is posted on the project page.

The catch is that if the project does not meet its fundraising goal before the deadline, then they don’t get any of the money. I like it because it makes me feel better about my money not going to waste. There has been more than one occasion when I’ve given generously to try and help some group raise enough money to do X or Y, and then it turns out I’m like one of ten people or something who gave and they didn’t get enough money to do what I wanted to support and then I’m like “Great. I just spent $50 so these people can buy a couple of reams of paper for their office printer. Awesome.” So with Kickstarter, you know that’s not gonna happen.

The New Parkway

Anyway. The people who are trying to reopen the Parkway Theater are doing a Kickstarter fundraising drive to help with their fundraising. They’re working on getting most of the money they need the old fashioned way, with normal investors, but are looking for community donations to fill an eighth of the hole — $50,000. With 61 hours to go before their deadline, they’re only about 20 percent of the way there.

So here’s what I say. As of this writing, there are like 125 donors total to this fundraising drive. And I know I heard whining about the Parkway closure from more than 125 people. Everyone is all, “The City should do something!” or “Someone should do something!” or “The theater landlords are assholes! This is so unfair!” And maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but the fact is that old buildings in disrepair cost a lot of money to fix and maintain, and while it sucks that it costs so much money to get the theater up and running again, it’s also just the way of the world.

New Parkway Logo

I was sad when the Parkway closed, but was pretty skeptical about the prospects for anyone being able to reopen it due to the extreme costs involved. So I think it’s awesome that these folks are taking the plunge and trying to make it happen. And if you miss the Parkway Theater and want it open again, then there is no excuse for you not to help out. Through Kickstarter, you can make a donation of as little as $1.

If the theater doesn’t open, you get your money back. If they do open, and you donated at least $25, you get a cool thank you present! Here’s what they’re offering:

  • $25 donation: 5 free shows at the New Parkway
  • $50 donation: Date Night at the New Parkway: 2 tickets, pitcher of beer, pizza, reserved loveseat
  • $100 donation: 10 free shows and an invite to the Grand Reopening with the always useful +1
  • $500 donation: One year pass for free movies, plus the same party thing as above
  • $1000 donation: Get your own screening room at the Parkway for one whole night. They show 2 movies, give you 10 pitchers of beer and 10 pizzas, and you invite 150 of your closest friends. They’re only giving away 5 of this prize, and 3 are already taken, so if you want it, move fast.
  • $2500 donation: Lifetime movie pass at the New Parkway

All the passes (except for the lifetime one, obviously) are good for one year after the theater opens.

So if you want to see the Parkway Theater open again, please, give what you can, and pass the link on to your friends, and ask them to give too.

10 thoughts on “Want to see the Parkway Theater reopened? Donate to help make it happen

  1. bethh

    Oooh I totally want to donate BUT I can’t right now – something is wrong with the site’s certificate. I hope they can extend the deadline to accommodate the site being non-functional.

  2. bethh

    Cancel the panic (or delete my comment) – it is working now. I reported it via my browser, because I couldn’t even get to the contact Kickstarter page.

    At any rate, I’ve kicked in. Yay Parkway.

  3. V Smoothe Post author

    FYI, there’s only 1 left of the “screening room for a night prize” that you get for a $1000 donation, so anyone who has that kind of cash and likes the idea so claim it now.

    I’m happy to see they’ve made so much progress towards their goal in the last several hours. They’re now at $14,324 out of the $50,000 they need. So please, folks, pass that link on to your friends.

    SA –

    According to an email the New Parkway folks sent out last night: “if you donate and the theater doesn’t open, you’ll get all your money back. Every single penny!”

    bethh -

    Glad to hear it’s working again.

  4. MarleenLee

    Unfortunately, it looks like the new people have given up on the old location. So this isn’t a matter of fixing up the old theater at the bottom of Park Ave. The actual locations they are scouting are Temescal and Uptown. So it’s not really about bringing back the Parkway; it’s about creating a new theater that has a similar concept. I’d be much more excited if this project was going to be at the original location.

  5. V Smoothe Post author

    Marleen –

    That’s what they were talking about a while ago, but more recently, the plan has shifted back to using the original Parkway Theater. They have recently reported that they are in the final stages of negotiating the lease with the building owners and except to have it signed “within the next couple of weeks.”

  6. MarleenLee

    If that’s the case then they should update their fundraising Kickstarter page, because it says: “We’re currently in the process of finding a home for the New Parkway—the owners of the current Parkway Theater are being unreasonable in their demands of potential tenants so we’ve found some possible locations in Temescal, Uptown, and Downtown—and lining up investors to fund the start-up and business expenses. We expect to re-open the theater in the spring or summer of 2011.”