Villa Theatre to Become Rug Gallery
In May 2004, Harmons Grocery sold the Villa Theatre to Hamid Adib, owner of Adib's Rug Gallery at 3142 South Highland Drive. Adib was upset when he heard that developers wanted to demolish the former Cinerama theater and build office buildings in its place, so he decided to give something back to the community by buying and preserving the Villa himself.
Adib plans to restore the Villa building to its former splendor and use it as a new showroom for his gallery of Persian and Oriental rugs. The theater's facade will be preserved and building will be kept in the overall form of a theater. Carmike Cinemas removed all of its equipment from the Villa when the theater closed, so the building is now basically a shell. The building has not been well cared for and water leaks have caused damage to the ceiling.
Adib plans to create a museum-like atmosphere where people can come and enjoy the fine craftsmanship and elegant beauty of Oriental rugs and at the same time remember their past good memories of the Villa Theatre. Fans of the Villa will be welcome to visit at any time (no purchase required) and there will be a section dedicated to the history of the theater. Adib does not know how long the renovation will take, but he wants to take the time to do the job properly.
The Adib family became involved in the production and sale of hand woven rugs in the earliest twentieth century and Dr. Hamid Adib has been selling them in the Salt Lake area for more than 18 years.
In 2001, Carmike Cinemas almost sold the Villa Theatre to Edmond Simantov, who owns the Simantov Oriental Rug Gallery in downtown Salt Lake City. Although we don't know what plans the Simantovs had for the Villa, the theater would probably have been well cared for. The Simantovs spent millions renovating the Felt Building and Commercial Club in downtown Salt Lake. (See: Failed Sale of 2001)
In an e-mail to Grant Smith, founder of the villatheatre.com web site, Adib said, "I will do everything in my power to preserve [the Villa Theatre] as much as possible and yes Villa will stay in place for a long time. I am receiving a few calls a day from developers that have many destructive intensions for the building. Some of the other groups that competed against us [in buying the property] were also thinking to demolish the building to develop office buildings. We completely reject that idea and I would like to assure you this will not happen."
1. "The Villa to star in new role: rug gallery", Deseret News, 22 May 2004
2. Adib’s Rug Gallery web site
3. e-mail from Dr. Hamid Adib to Grant Smith, 23 May 2004