Vancouver's Rio Theatre Is Up for Sale

The theatre's current operator hopes to buy the property
Vancouver's Rio Theatre Is Up for Sale
It seems that there is about to be a shakeup in Vancouver's arts community, as the beloved Rio Theatre is reportedly up for sale. Although the theatre has not made any official announcement about its future, a pamphlet from real estate firm CBRE has emerged online and indicates that the Rio is being sold.

UPDATE (1/27, 9:30 p.m. EST): The Rio Theatre has released an official statement, confirming that the property is indeed up for sale but that the current operator of the Rio, Corrine Lea, intends to buy it if she can raise the money. Furthermore, the Rio still has eight more years on its lease, which any new owners will reportedly have to honour. Read the full statement in the embedded Facebook post below.



Located at Broadway and Commercial Drive, the Rio is a community movie theatre known for showing a mix of new releases and older films. In recent years, it has shifted to hosting more live concerts, including acts like Childish Gambino, Halsey, Matthew Good, Chad VanGaalen, Best Coast, the Mountain Goats and many more.

It is also a notable comedy venue — hosting the monthly variety show Paul Anthony's Talent Time — and a frequent hotspot for burlesque and many other events.

Founded in 1938, the 420-seat venue has struggled to stay afloat over the years, and in 2012 won a protracted battle for a licence to serve alcohol. The Rio's owner Corinne Lea told the Georgia Straight in 2011, "I can't make a living just off of movies, so I have no choice — I have to go ahead with the liquor licence if I want to stay in business."

Given that the Rio hasn't issued any sort of statement about its future, it's too soon to say exactly what the sale of the building will mean for the venue. CBRE's listing is for a "development site with opportunity to assemble," and the site is apparently designated for buildings of up to 10 storeys.

As of press time, the theatre's calendar lists events as far in the future as April 2018.