When was the last time anyone saw the facade of the greatly renowned Rialto Theatre with a luminous red coating?
Most likely not in most a South Pasadenan’s recent memory, but painters worked through the heat this week to spruce up the historical marquee, marking some of the most visually striking improvements that the local landmark has arguably received in decades.
The theatre, which has been operating as one of several locations for Mosaic Church, was overdue for a cosmetic, and more importantly, structural overhaul. While pedestrians and neighbors alike tenaciously inquired about when the crumbling edifice would finally receive some much needed TLC, it was announced in December of last year by Shomof Group, the current owner, that major improvements were to take place in the months to come.
Many obstacles had impeded the renovation’s progress, including permit extensions, and a possible change of location for Mosaic, which were all eventually remedied and gave the option to have the church, acting as tenants, and Izek Shomof, the building’s owner, to strike a symbiotic deal that would benefit the historic theatre and all parties involved.
Scaffolding and tarps lined the building shortly thereafter, bringing a refreshing air of excitement signaling that change was imminent.
While the COVID-19 pandemic posed an unforeseen obstruction, the project seemed to lay dormant for weeks, with the only visible change being a message of solidarity stating, ” You are not alone.” However Friends of the Rialto Founder Escott O. Norton and Schomoff both gave the South Pasadenan News updates in April, saying that work was still being completed including the store front renovations, and wrapping up the cast molds for the building.
While the details are always important, to be able to see the improvements from the street can easily give passersby some affirmation that the theatre’s new life is closer than they may think.