New Westminster, BC – The City of New Westminster has selected Lafflines Comedy Club owner Barry Buckland as the purchaser of the historic Burr Theatre. At a purchase price of $850,000, the successful bid was evaluated based on several economic, cultural and heritage criteria. Lafflines Comedy Club will relocate to the theatre under the new name Lafflines at the Burr Theatre by summer 2010.
“We received six proposals to purchase the Burr Theatre and based on our selection criteria, Barry Buckland’s Lafflines at the Burr Theatre emerged as the successful proponent,” said Lisa Spitale, Director of Development Services. “We’re looking forward to working with Mr. Buckland and his project team to bring this historic theatre to life once again.”
In summer 2009, the City issued an RFP for the sale of the Burr Theatre. Proponents were given until September 18, 2009 to respond. All six proposals were evaluated by an interdepartmental staff team based on several factors, including:
- Revitalization of the building and surrounding area
- Improvement of the appearance of the building
- Improvement of integration of the surrounding land uses
- Creation of a landmark site that is noted for its sympathetic restoration of the exterior of the building
- Protection of the murals (both covered and exposed) in the interior of the building from further alteration or degradation
- Satisfactory monetary return for the City
- Continued access to the Burr Theatre by community groups
Mr. Buckland has owned Lafflines Comedy Club since 1999 and is a member of the Raymond Burr Arts Society Board and of the Downtown Business Improvement Society. He has retained three professionals to assist him as his project team including: local architect Eric Pattison, specializing in heritage restoration projects throughout New Westminster; Jessica Schneider, Executive Director of Massey Theatre, who will assist with the development of operating and management policies, and marketing initiatives for the rental of the facility; and, Michael Hwang, lawyer and owner of Hwang & Company who has been instrumental in the revitalization efforts of the historic Westminster Trust Building.