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Laemmle Theater Searching for New Pasadena Location

Published on Tuesday, February 1, 2022 | 1:13 pm
Laemmle Playhouse 7. Courtesy of

According to a sign pictured on the Laemmle’s Pasadena Playhouse 7 on Tuesday, the theater continues to have a leaseback agreement to operate at 673 E Colorado Blvd.

“Unfortunately, we had to sell the Playhouse 7 theatre property during the 13 month closure forced upon us by the pandemic,” the sign reads. “Contrary to the information contained in the recent Pasadena Now story, we do in fact have a leaseback in place.”

Pasadena Now reported the sale and the leaseback on February 1, 2021.

The sale also included a leaseback that will allow the theater to continue operating,” the Pasadena Now story said.

No plans to include the theater in the redesign of the building by its new owners materialized.

A leaseback is an arrangement in which the company that sells an asset leases back all or a portion of that same asset from the purchaser.

Laemmle Theatres announced in February the sale of its 22,897 square-foot Pasadena location on Colorado Boulevard near El Molino Avenue in the city’s trendy Playhouse Village to GD Realty Group of Los Angeles, owner and developer of urban commercial real estate in prime Southern California locations.

According to a statement released at the time of the announcement, the sale also included a leaseback that would allow the theater to continue operating, which Pasadena Now reported.

The current sign said the Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 will continue to operate under the leaseback arrangement for “several more months.”

“We are in discussions with the property owner and extending the leaseback until they are ready to move ahead with the proposed renovation which was recently approved by the City of Pasadena Architectural Review panel,” the sign said.

The current sign concludes by saying that the theater is searching for a new location. 

Established in 1938 by Kurt and Max Laemmle, nephews of legendary Universal Pictures founder Carl Laemmle, the company is currently run by Robert Laemmle and his son, Greg Laemmle. The theater chain has served over 1 million film patrons each year from seven locations in the greater Los Angeles region.

The chain has enjoyed a long relationship with Pasadena that dates back almost 60 years. 

In 1964, the Laemmle chain opened the Esquire Theater on Colorado Boulevard near San Gabriel Boulevard. The chain also ran The Colorado, which was located a block west of there, on Colorado Boulevard near Vinedo Avenue, and opened the Laemmle Playhouse 7 on Colorado Boulevard in 1999. The Esquire and The Colorado theaters were shuttered the following year. 

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3 thoughts on “Laemmle Theater Searching for New Pasadena Location

  • As a patron of the Pasadena Laemmle theaters since the Esquire opened–one who still attends films at least a couple times weekly, unless traveling or in Covid lockdown, as we all were in 2020–I am so hoping that the city will assist the Laemmle family to continue to operate in Pasadena. Short of an hours-long drive to the Westside, there’s no way to duplicate what they bring to our city in terms of cultural energy. It’s so sad that the family had to sell their asset to keep their business; they should receive every possible break as they attempt to rebuild it in this tough environment.

  • Is there some way to inhabit the shuttered Arclight in the Paseo? That would be delightful, but it makes way too much sense to be the solution.






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