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Laguna Beach

 Volume 14, Issue 79  |  October 4, 2022

Planning Commission to hear proposal by potential movie theater buyer


Rivian Automotive Inc. announced on Thursday the company’s intent to buy Laguna’s iconic South Coast Cinemas.

The electric adventure vehicle maker’s proposed purchase is part of a larger retail strategy of acquiring existing buildings and adapting their reuse, which in this case would be adding retail space, a coffee bar, and special events to film screenings that would be scheduled. The offering price was not made public. 

“As the purchase is not yet final, we’re not disclosing that information at this time,” stated Public Relations Director Amy Mast in an email to Stu News Laguna.

The sale is subject to city approval Mast said and a concept review is on the Planning Commission’s agenda for Wednesday’s meeting. 

Proposed alterations include updating the interior, as many of the finishes were either not original or did not survive previous changes, such as dividing the auditorium to allow two films to be screened at the same time. 

Proposed uses include hosting private and community events, and lectures, according to the published notice of the committee hearing.

Planning Commission theater

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

A concept review for the Rivian Theater Laguna is on the agenda for Wednesday night’s Planning Commission meeting

“The community in Laguna Beach has a deep artistic history and a strong love of nature,” said Denise Cherry, Rivian director of facilities. “This Rivian space will continue the town’s long tradition of connecting people to the arts and the outdoors.” 

Subject to city approvals, the project is slated to open in 2021, Rivian announced. 

Rivian’s application for the commission hearing is available on the city’s website by clicking here. Alternatively, go to and click on Meetings, Agendas, and Minutes then on the Planning Commission agenda. 

Commission meetings are not open to the public but are streamed on the city’s website and are telecast on Cox Cable station 852. Meetings begin at 6 p.m.

Comments may be made via teleconferencing, in writing, or by email. Comments not submitted by the Monday before the meeting may be made by teleconferencing during the meeting via Zoom at the link here, or by calling (669) 900-9128 and entering the ID 99405314155.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

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Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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