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Protect the River Oaks Theatre!

Save the Lease!

Write Your Mayor!

Landmark Theatres has delivered new art house films as well as popular revivals of classics to Houston via the 1939 River Oaks Theatre, since 1976—and as far as we’re concerned, we’re not done yet! We do have one monumental problem, the landlord has not responded to interest in renewing our lease, which expires on March 31, 2021.

We know that the River Oaks means a lot to the arts and cultural life of the community. It is now THE ONLY historic movie theatre left in Houston. There are INTACT Art Deco reliefs on the walls inside, not to mention, other original architectural features! We also know that you want to help. Well, here’s how.

We need letters of support to keep Landmark at the River Oaks and we need a lot of them fast because time is running out. Below we have listed a group of emails to send your letter to. You can use the sample letter below, but we strongly encourage you to USE YOUR OWN WORDS. Write about your fond memories. What did you see there? Who did you see it with? What does the theater mean to you? How has it figured into your life?

Send your email to ALL of these addresses:
pmanchi@weingarten.com, mayor@houstontx.gov, james.koski@houstontx.gov, districtC@houstontx.gov, Julia.Retta@houstontx.gov, landmark.theatres.publicity@gmail.com

Sample Letter:

Dear Honorable Mayor Turner:

I am writing today in support of Landmark Theatres renewing their lease at the historic 1939 River Oaks Theatre. Landmark’s programming is as integral to the culture of our community as the existence of this iconic, much beloved Art Deco Houston landmark itself. It is the last historic theatre in Houston. I feel strongly that the experience of watching a movie in a classic venue is unparalleled. The disappearance of Landmark programming in our community would be an extremely disappointing loss.

Weingarten Realty’s statement to the press indicates that they acknowledge that the pandemic has significantly strained the theatre business, but it is troubling that they don’t appear to be making an effort to work with Landmark as they struggle to bring their business back to an adequate level. Their President Paul Serwitz states that business is down 90%. Due to the pandemic, their ability to attract an audience is not surprising. In time, business will normalize.

Please encourage Weingarten to work with Landmark Theatres. With the theatre business at unprecedented low levels nationally, it is not likely that Weingarten will get a higher paying operator into the theatre. Supporters of the River Oaks chatting online, are extremely worried that losing Landmark Theatres as the tenant, will lead to the rationale that the theatre should be demolished. I understand that despite the theatre’s landmark status, the preservation ordinance in Houston will not protect it against an owner initiated demolition.

The neighborhood will not be the same without the River Oaks where audiences have enjoyed movies on the big screen for over 80 years. Once the last historic neighborhood theatre is gone, Houston is at a loss forever.

Sincerely,

[Your Name
Your City and State or full mailing address
If you live in Council District C, please indicate that.]

Here is who you are writing to. If you want to tag in tweets, Instagram or on Facebook, information is below:

Mr. Andrew M. Alexander
Chairman President & Chief Executive Officer
Weingarten Realty
2600 Citadel Plaza #125
Houston, TX 77008
713.866.6000
Twitter: @WeingartenRlty
https://www.facebook.com/WeingartenRealty/
https://www.instagram.com/weingartenrealty/

Patrick Manchi
Area Vice President, Leasing
Weingarten Realty
pmanchi@weingarten.com

Hon. Sylvester Turner
Office of the Mayor
P.O. Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251-1562
mayor@houstontx.gov
Twitter: @sylvesterturner

James Koski
Deputy, Chief of Staff
Mayor’s Office
james.koski@houstontx.gov

Council Member for District C
Abbie Kamin
districtC@houstontx.gov
Twitter: @AbbieKamin

Julia Retta
Chief of Staff District C
Julia.Retta@houstontx.gov

Thank you John Stav for the beautiful photo of the River Oaks in the snow.

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