The property is still owned, I believe, by Howard Crittenden, an Atherton real estate investor, who also owned the Guild's "sister theater", the Park, which was closed in 2002. There was a community effort to save the Park - and Mr. Crittenden did attempt to work with the city to re-design the Park, maintaining a small theater and offices, but the efforts failed and the building was demolished. Only recently is there a proposal before the Menlo Park Planning Commission to build a combination cafe, commercial office and 3 residential units on the site which he sold, I believe in 2014 to 1275 LLC (Almanac, 9-14-16).
We need to save the Guild from a similar fate! When I moved to Palo Alto there were 3 movie houses in Menlo Park, one on Santa Cruz Avenue, and the Park and the Guild. Now there is one. Only two local Landmark theaters, Palo Alto's Aquarius theater (remodeled in cineplex style with reclining seats, and the mermaid only on the marquee and one fish mobile in the lobby instead of the marvelous funky aquarium decor of the old Aquarius), and the Guild have regular foreign and indie films.
I live just down the street from the Guild, and it would be a terrible loss to our community if it were to go the way of the Park, and other small, indie/foreign film venues supplanted by streaming video and several-screen multiplexes. I'd like to hear from Andrew Duncan, who worked so hard to keep the Park Theater in Menlo Park, to see if he can help rally the community with me and other residents to save the Guild as he tried to save the Park. I've written to Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, to see if would be an "angel investor" to help save the Guild. True, the Guild needs renovation (new ADA bathroom, projection equipment, seats, air conditioning) - but I'd strongly urge maintaining elements of its distinctive interior light fixtures and the "wings" on the side walls (I understand from old theaters in San Francisco), retaining the funky, loveable flavor of our intimate 300 seat theater. It won't be the grand restoration that David Packard did to the magnificent Stanford Theater on University Ave. in Palo Alto, but we need to save our beloved Guild. In this age of multiplex cinemas and streaming videos, it is important to save our historic - and only - Menlo Park movie house.
I hope that local residents, Menlo Park and Palo Alto alike, and Stanford students, rally to SAVE THE GUILD, as they have rallyied to save the CineArts theater at Palo Alto Square (which now has a 2-year reprieve)! I hope to have a petition at the Menlo Park Sunday Farmer's Market next week, or supporters can contact me at [email protected] Let's ensure that another generation can enjoy our local Guild Theater - leave our living rooms and blue-ray devices behind and walk or drive to our local movie house with a long history in Menlo Park, munch on movie popcorn and snacks, applaud, laugh, cry, and settle back to enjoy, independent and foreign films with our neighbors.