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The owners of one of Vancouver’s last independent theatres have been thrown a lifeline by the city with a conditional grant of $375,000.

Zoning changes for the Rio Theatre earlier this year attracted developers looking to tear it down, prompting a months-long fundraising operation.

Theatre operator Corinne Lea has been leading the crowd-funding and private investment campaign to purchase the venue, but they needed about $3.8-million to secure the land.

Lea says their July 31 deadline for investment was pushed forward to allow processing of the latest grant and they have already received investments from 140 sources.

Mayor Gregor Robertson says in a statement that the art deco theatre is a cultural landmark and an important venue for showcasing local artists and events.

The city says the grant will help close the funding gap with the purchase deadline approaching, but the money is conditional on the group securing the remainder of necessary funds from the federal government or private donations and on the facility operating as a theatre for at least 10 years.

The exact purchase price of the theatre hasn’t been revealed, but Lea has said in the past that it was above the property’s $4.3-million assessed value.

“Vancouver is home to a thriving arts and culture scene, and the Rio Theatre is an important cultural venue for showcasing local artists and events,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson in a news release. “It’s inspiring to see so much community support come forward to raise money to save the Rio.”

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