After being closed for four years, the historic Bellevue Theatre in Montclair has announced plans to reopen.

The Bellevue first opened on May 13, 1922, and operated continuously for 95 years before being shuttered in 2017. According to a press release, the refurbished theater will offer “a diverse spectrum of film programming, including studio, independent, and international releases, and providing much-needed space for live entertainment such as musical performances, as well as film festival screenings, lectures, and receptions.”

After renovation there will be four separate theaters for movies, live performances, and events.

“I am delighted we are working to reopen Bellevue Theatre. It will serve as both a cultural hub and economic force for Upper Montclair,” said Deputy Mayor Bill Hurlock. “This is one of Montclair’s most iconic landmarks. I commend everybody involved for their commitment to restoring this beautiful building to its former glory.”

The Bellevue Theatre opened in 1922, designed by architect J.H. Phillips as an “entertainment mecca where films and vaudeville acts were presented in ornate Tudor-style settings with tapestries, wooden beams and a tea room. United Artists acquired Bellevue in 1983 and triplexed it, obscuring many of the original design elements but also allowing the Theatre to offer a greater variety and a more frequently rotating schedule of film programming.”

Independent theater operator Jesse Sayegh, then-president of the New Jersey chapter of the National Association Of Theater Owners, purchased Bellevue in 1996, modernizing and expanding the historic theater from three screens to four.

Bellevue was leased to Clearview Cinemas in late 1997, and then to BowTie Cinemas in 2013, when they assumed the lease. In 2017, they declined to renew the lease.

No official reopening date has been announced, but it is hoped to be up and running by the end of 2021 or early 2022.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.

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