Gardner toured the theater last week with the owner, and she said in her newsletter that much of the work that has been completed is structural.
“When I was in high school, one of my friends whose father was an architect wouldn’t let him go to the Port Theater because he felt it was seismically unsound,” she writes in the newsletter. “Well, if an earthquake hits, and I’m anywhere near there, I’m ducking into the Port. One reason it hasn’t come along as quickly as many had hoped is that they have done major retrofitting with big steel beams and trusses, not an easy job in an existing building, but now most of that is completed, and they anticipate being open this year.”
The theater, she said, will “provide a more upscale movie experience that includes dining which counts me out. I’m crabby enough about the movie-going public with their cell phones and chatter. Add food service, and I’d just as soon watch in on my TV.”
She added that the closures of Fashion Island cinemas for remodeling has caused some problems for the Newport Beach Film Festival, which relied on those theaters for their April event.