Tonawanda News

Local News

April 19, 2014

New Riviera marquee going in

Tonawanda News — The installation of the Riviera Theatre and Performing Arts Center’s newly restored marquee is set to begin next week, Director of Development Gary Rouleau announced in a statement. 

The work will begin Tuesday and will be completed Friday, and the box office will remain open during the installation. The project marks the end of a three-year fundraising effort to restore the marquee to its original glory and give it technological improvements.

The iconic 1947 marquee was removed in October and transported to Ohio, where the Wagner Electric Sign Company completed the restoration. The marquee will be transported on a flatbed truck and installed in its original location.

Frey Electric Co. also completed electrical updates to the Riviera Theatre in preparation for the marquee’s reinstallation. 

The improved marquee features its original 1947 paint scheme, which was discovered through testing and research, the restoration of its green and neon lights, metal restoration, new wiring and electronics, including LED display panels that mimic the appearance of the original lettering.

“With the resurgence of the historic Riviera Theatre as an anchor, the Webster Street Canal Corridor has seen a resurgence of economic development activity over the past several years with many new restaurants and businesses opening,” a statement from the theater reads. “Restoration of the historic marquee will contribute to the positive activity in the canal corridor.”

Although the building’s marquee received state-of-the-art restoration, the theater worked with the New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation to make sure it was restored to its original look. The building’s status as a historic landmark means exterior renovations must be approved by a state panel and must seek to maintain the building’s historic nature.

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