Future investors for the the Rialto Theater will have first dibs on nostalgia items

Robin Bradshaw
Picture was taken in August during the demolition of the Rialto Theater.

After the completion of the Rialto Theater demolition, city leaders considered auctioning off the nostalgic marquee letters and glass blocks but voted on an alternate plan during Tuesday’s city council meeting. The new investor for the building will now have the first bid for option to purchase the ascetic items of nostalgia during contractual agreements of building.

Renee Ranaai Pedraza from Wedding Lace, a downtown wedding dress boutique located in the Alice downtown area addressed city council members during Tuesday’s meeting. Pedraza expressed her hopes for the city to invest in the Rialto Theater and pleaded for them to take pride when making long term decisions for downtown Alice.

"My family has been in business for now 42 years and people visit our wedding shop from Corpus Christi, Aransas Pass, Hebronville and many other long distant areas. Our customers will spend hours at our wedding shop and always ask, “Where can we go out to eat and hang out for the afternoon? ”I wish I could tell visitors of Alice to go across the street and enjoy the park, or a food truck area, or a recreational movie night- just something," said Pedraza. “Other city’s that invest in their downtown areas give visitors the option to stay longer, eat, shop and spend more money.”

Councilman Pete Crisp was contacted on his comment on the issue and responded, "The conversation to create a park space at the Rialto Theater has been discussed for years, but here is the thing, the city is cutting its budget a million dollars from short falls, employment positions have been cut and the city is struggling to repair roads and much needed infrastructure repairs. I would love to open park in the building, I would love to see an investor bring vibrancy to the downtown building but the truth is the city does not have the funding to invest in a park or venue at the moment. An investor for these great ideas would be more ideal in regards to the city’s current financial situation.“

City manager Michal Esparza expressed to city council members that if the building remains vacant for another three years a significant and considerable amount of decay and deterioration to the building with persist.

The city is currently taking bids for potential buyers with active pursuant plans for restoration and development for the iconic Rialto Theater. Potential investors for the building will currently have first dibs on the iconic marquees and glass blocks for the vintage aesthetics many people from the local area hold dear to their heart.