Napa's newly-restored Uptown Theatre reopens

May 14, 2010 8:01:16 PM PDT
An Art Deco jewel of a theatre is re-opening Friday night after years of restoration. Napa's Uptown Theatre was once the big movie theatre in town. Now it becomes a place for live concerts, starting with a show this Friday. It is a venerable theater that has been lovingly restored.

It is a classic of 1937 Art Deco design; such few of them remain. Napa real estate developer George Altamura bought the Uptown in 1998 hoping to bring it back to life.

"It was such a beautiful thing at one time, I just wanted to restore it," said Altamura.

It had been turned into a four-plex, rundown, then shutdown, but George would have to wait.

"Downtown was deteriorating. So I quit when I thought I don't want to lose my shirt on the theatre. So thought I'll just hold onto it and eventually Napa will come back," said Altamura.

Last year, he decided it was time. Breaking through coats of paint and fake walls, they found some amazing designs. His granddaughter, Jackie, directed the pricey restoration.

"There were a lot of original details I had to work with so that was helpful," said Jackie.

It is stunning inside as it recaptures a past glory.

"It's a beautiful job. It's been painstakingly refurbished and the detail, the ceiling..." said Pierce Carson from the Napa Valley Register.

It took 12 years to open this place as the city of Napa went through some tough economic times. Now the Uptown and other businesses are catalysts for good times Downtown -- a new nightlife is dawning.

"Now these people are going to help fill up our hotels, eat at our restaurants, shop in our stores. It's good for Napa," said Lisa Batto from the Napa Chamber of Commerce.

Times are changing and visitors aren't passing by Napa to go up valley.

"It's like a breath of fresh air," said Napa Mayor Jill Techel. "And once we created this as a safe city, boy everybody has seen the jewel behind it."

Techel said it has become a place of opportunity for businesses, new hotels, and restaurants. The change came with the flood control project.

"This is the most unique thing I'll ever do I my life," said Altamura.

And now another jewel opens.


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