Multilectual Daily Online Magazine focusing on World Architecture, Travel, Photography, Interior Design, Vintage and Contemporary Fiction, Political cartoons, Craft Beer, All things Espresso, International coffee/ cafe's, occasional centrist politics and San Diego's Historic North Park by award-winning journalist Tom Shess
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
RETRO FILES / CALIFORNIA THEATRE UPDATE
Downtown San Diego's California Theatre, 1929
from Times of San Diego via City News Service.
A plan to replace the dilapidated California Theatre
building in downtown San Diego received a boost Thursday when it received
unanimous support from the city’s Planning Commission.
The fenced-off building on C Street between Third
and Fourth avenues has long been a civic eyesore, with the exception of a
large, historic mural touting the Agua Caliente racetrack in Tijuana.
It would be replaced by a mixed-use development
including a 40-story office tower, 282 residential units, retail space and
A replica of the mural and a depiction of the
historic theatre building will be displayed, according to the developers.
“We’ve had to put a fence around that building
because pieces of it are falling off into the street, the marquis had to be
taken down because it was starting to sag into the street, almost a quarter of
the windows are broken from pigeons trying to break out or vandals trying to
break in, and the rains we’ve had this winter I’m sure have made the interior a
wonderful place to be,” said Gary Smith of the San Diego Downtown Residents
K. Cyrus Sanandaji of San Francisco-based developer
Presidio Bay Ventures said the new building will generate round-the-clock
activity that will “spark” the revitalization of C Street, the downtown roadway
that the trolley runs along.
Bruce Coons, of the Save Our Heritage Organisation
preservationist group, argued that the 90-year-old structure is as important
historically as buildings in Balboa Park.
The 2,200-seat theater opened in 1927 as a
vaudeville stage before it became a movie house, according to city documents.
After 1976, it remained open for special performances, but architectural
surveys that took place in 1990 deemed the building vulnerable to earthquakes.
The building was subsequently closed to the public
and has sat unused ever since.
Losing the California Theatre would “be a major
loss for downtown” because there is no commitment toward an accurate
reproduction of the building, Coons said.
After making some tweaks to the proposed project,
the commissioners unanimously recommended approval to the City Council, which
has the final say.