Another plan to restore NDG's Empress theatre falls apart

It appears the latest plan to restore the crumbling Empress Theatre in NDG to its former glory has failed.

The building, which used to house the only Egyptian revival theatre in Canada, was supposed to get a $10 million dollar makeover, but a major partner has pulled out.

The Empress Theatre opened in 1927 as a vaudeville and movie house. By the 1970s, the building became known as Cinema Five, which became a repertory movie house.

The building closed when a fire destroyed much of it in 1992, and it has been essentially going to seed since — even after the city bought the building shortly after the fire.

Several attempts to come up with ideas — and money — to restore the building have failed in the years since.

A spokesperson for the Empress Theatre Foundation cancelled an interview with CTV News, saying talks with a potential new partner are at a touchy stage, and the group didn't want to jeopardize them.