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Laguna Playhouse renovation plan heads to City Council after second look from Planning Commission

Laguna Playhouse renovation plan heads to City Council after second look from Planning Commission
Plans call for the Laguna Playhouse, built in 1968, to get a $200,000 renovation including new stucco and new landscaping. (Courtesy of city of Laguna Beach)

The Laguna Beach Planning Commission this week gave its second and final recommendation on changes to renovation plans for the Laguna Playhouse.

The 404-seat performing arts venue on Laguna Canyon Road is looking to reinvent itself with a $200,000 revamp.

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Following concerns raised at the commission’s June 20 meeting, the project’s architect, Mark Abel, came up with some alternatives.

The commission was concerned about the potential reflective nature of some stainless-steel finishes for the playhouse. Abel agreed to apply material to the metal that would dampen its reflective qualities should it become too bright.

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The commission Wednesday chose a dark stucco color that will be applied to the building and could mesh well with the surrounding features. The panel also signed off on the project’s new landscaping plan, which will have plants similar to those at the nearby Festival of Arts grounds.

The playhouse project next faces the City Council for final approval.

Playhouse leaders are looking to revive the city-owned building, which was built in 1968 and is leased to the arts nonprofit. Their vision includes keeping its distinctive terrace architecture but applying a new smooth stucco, installing a new tile hardscape ramp and courtyard area and adding metal canopies and lighting fixtures. They also want to install three banners that would face the street to promote upcoming productions.

Joe Hanauer, a member of the playhouse board, told the commission last month that leaders are looking to start the project once it gets the OK and keep the venue open until a dark period in November, when it will be closed and major demolition work can take place.

The project coincides with the nonprofit’s 50th anniversary at the current facility.

Bradley Zint is a contributor to Times Community News.

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