After being closed for more than a year, the Liberty Theatre in downtown Camas will re-open in March with a new operator, a new look and a new business plan.
A lease was signed with Rootstock Capital Management, LLC, on Wednesday. The corporation is made up of Rand Thornsley, who will be the managing director of the Liberty, Thornsley’s son Adam and Paul Rogers, who is a partner in Rogers Cinemas of Wisconsin.
Rand Thornsley said Friday that when the Liberty re-opens the two-screen facility will show second-run Hollywood movies, as well as international films and documentaries. There will also be film festival style programming including outdoor recreational and environmental film screenings. The cost for a general admission movie ticket at the Liberty will be $3.50.
“On most weeks, you’ll get a choice of at least two movies and sometimes more,” the website states. “The Liberty will be showing films off of the national break, meaning that new films will show up at the Liberty three to seven weeks after they are released nationally. This means we don’t have to run the same film for several weeks on end to satisfy studio requirements, and can provide a wider variety of films for you to see.”
Thornsley, who has managed and owned small movie theaters — primarily in Alaska — for for the past four decades, said re-opening plans for the Liberty include renovations and upgrade work to the historic building located at 315 N.E. Fourth Ave.
Within six to 12 months a small restaurant with a limited menu and some seating will be added. In addition, a remodel will be completed in the main theater’s balcony area, where patrons will have food, beer and wine service available. There are also plans to remodel the smaller second screen seating area, and turn it into an “intimate theater,” Thornsley said.
An open house and preview event is scheduled for March 4, as part of the monthly First Friday events held in downtown Camas. A grand opening celebration is set for Saturday, March, 19, in conjunction with a benefit event for Camas School District music programs.
“We intend to be very involved in the Camas and Washougal communities,” said Thornsley, who will be dividing his time over the next year between the Liberty and the Bear Tooth Theatrepub in Anchorage, Alaska, where he serves as the director of programming.
The Liberty Theatre building is owned by Gary and Marilyn Webberley of Kirkland, Wash. Negotiations on the lease with Rootstalk Capital Management have been underway for the past three months.
“I am so glad to finally have all of the pieces to the puzzle completed,” said Greg Goforth, a commercial real estate broker who represents the Webberleys. “One of the longer and more complicated transactions than ever imagined, but finally puts this experienced ‘motion picture’ operator and manager in control of his own operation for many years to come.”
Prior to its closure on Sept. 7, 2009, the Liberty had been by Greg Wood since 1996. Wood currently owns The Roseway Theater in Portland.
The Liberty Theatre’s website is at www.camasliberty.com. On Facebook, search “Liberty Theatre of Camas-Washougal.” Additional details about the new tenant’s plans will be provided in the Jan. 25 print edition of the Post-Record.