North Beach Pagoda Theater

It was a little over a year ago that a plugged-in reader dished the scoop on the history of the boarded up Pagoda theater in North Beach and the new owners’ plans to tear it down and build something new. Our reader’s prescient summary: “Uh. Oh. Stalemate.”

North Beach Pagoda Theater: Latest Proposal

And while plans for “a library or a second-floor cinema or a music and entertainment center” all “ran into seemingly endless delays” (note stalemate summary above), might there be an actual glimmer of hope for the developer’s latest proposal (twenty condos over a restaurant with parking below)?

UPDATE: From a plugged-in reader: “…I live one block away from this eyesore, and already the word on the street is that Peskin, Nancy Shanahan, and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers are all geared up to fight this latest proposal, too. The only “hope” is that they will have finally annoyed enough people in this neighborhood so that they turn out against them (the Dwellers).”

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by North Beach Tony

    The Peskin Memorial Theater? Finally moving ahead with “hope” for true action this time? Ha. Ha ha ha!. Haa Haaaa Haaaa Hhaa hooo hooo hoo!
    Sorry for the outburst, but I live one block away from this eyesore, and already the word on the street is that Peskin, Nancy Shanahan, and the Telegraph Hill Dwellers are all geared up to fight this latest proposal, too. The only “hope” is that they will have finally annoyed enough people in this neighborhood so that they turn out against them (the Dwellers).
    In North Beach, instead of housing and parks we’ve got parking lots (the Triangle) and graffiti canvases (the Peskin Memorial Theater, aka the Pagoda). All in the name of civic good.
    Give me (and my neighbors) a break!

  2. Posted by Mark Ballew

    Another community proposal I’ve heard is turning the theater into in entrance for the North Beach central subway entrance, if that ever gets approved and funded. Even the parks people, who maintain Washington Square, think it’s a good idea because the park won’t get torn up.

  3. Posted by Michael

    Best quote from the Nevius piece:
    “Marsha Garland, executive director of the North Beach Chamber of Commerce, said Shanahan puts up roadblocks to almost any development that doesn’t fit into the strict guidelines the Dwellers set.
    “She says, ‘It doesn’t look like it did back in the ’30s,’ ” Garland said. “Well, neither do you, lady.””

  4. Posted by fluj

    “I’ve heard is turning the theater into in entrance for the North Beach central subway entrance”
    That’s a good idea if only because that is what it already looks like anyway, a BART station.

  5. Posted by ex SF-er

    “She says, ‘It doesn’t look like it did back in the ’30s,’ ” Garland said
    wow. now that is sayin somethin
    I guess she thingks the graffiti looks like it did in the 1930’s?
    or maybe she just wants SF to look like a depression era city?

  6. Posted by Dude

    We should run all businesses out of this city, period. Then we can sustain ourselves on our sense of self-satisfaction. Oh, plus view rights. And maybe tourism. But only until we run the tourists out of town.

  7. Posted by zzzzzzz

    I just returned from a trip to Seattle where there’s an amazing amount of housing construction, everywhere you go. The figures bear this out. Even though Seattle has a considerably smaller population (~500,000) it builds twice as many new housing units every year as SF. Somehow, Seattle – a very liberal city by any standards – doesn’t fall into this knee-jerk reaction against anything new, and I think it contributes to the city’s vitality. In the meantime, we’re left absurd spectacles like the Pagoda theater. Perhaps it should be made into a museum devoted to anti-development fanatacism – at least then it’d have some educational value.

  8. Posted by etslee

    Everyone needs to watch the South Park episode “Smug Alert”. The Telegraph Hill Dwellers must revel in the smell of their own gas.
    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clips/104283

  9. Posted by El Payo

    Why do the Telegraph Hill Dwellers even get a say in this? The Pagoda is in North Beach, not on Telegraph Hill.
    I can understand if the North Beach Neighborhood Association wants to bitch, but I live in the neighborhood and I’m sick of staring at that boarded up POS. Please do SOMETHING with it. (Just as long as it doesn’t turn into another Art Institute building.)

  10. Posted by Kevin Montreuil

    Nancy — the urine, poo, and garbage left in the door wells of my building (The Book Concern Building, 1908) every morning, detract from it’s historical beauty. Could you run that by the Supervisor? Clutch the pearls!

  11. Posted by Usually Named

    ” Somehow, Seattle – a very liberal city by any standards – doesn’t fall into this knee-jerk reaction against anything new, and I think it contributes to the city’s vitality. ”
    Because San Francisco really isn’t liberal. Isn’t that abundantly clear?
    The emperor has no clothes.

  12. Posted by jeff

    This is the perfect example of a broken city. Everyone goes on and on about how it is expensive here because everyone wants to live in “the best place on earth”. Nonsense. It is expensive here because this city is not allowed to grow.
    The link provided to the South Park smug clip above also links to the full episode. That show about San Francisco is brilliant in holding up a mirror to the current situation in “the city”.

  13. Posted by Brutus

    While I agree that this is ridiculous, I wouldn’t go praising Seattle that much. More housing may be currently going up there, but the arguments over transit and replacing the Alaskan Way viaduct (and the numerous votes along the way, some non-binding) are epic SF-style boondoggles of lots of money being spent watching something crumble.

  14. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    Even though Seattle has a considerably smaller population (~500,000) it builds twice as many new housing units every year as SF.
    Where do you get your “facts” from?
    SFGate says in a recent article that San Francisco built over 2500 units in 2007.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/05/15/BA2110LPHB.DTL
    How many were built in Seattle? I see that they project building about 2000 a year for the next ten years. Do you have info that indicates otherwise?

  15. Posted by urban_angst

    Oh please tell me that we are nearing the tipping point where the “progressive” agenda is about to piss off enough people that their majority on the BOS will be lost.

  16. Posted by Mystery Realtor

    We can only hope that after he’s termed of the Board of Supervisors and looses his bid to become a judge that furry little troll will move to Marin ala Hallinan and take his nasty wife with him.

  17. Posted by Dan

    On the SPUR website, there is a report with a comparison of housing in San Francisco versus Seattle. The report documents that Seattle has built twice as much housing annually compared to SF, despite Seattle’s smaller population.

  18. Posted by Chad

    The Angry Little Dwarf must be stopped.

  19. Posted by Sleepiguy

    He won’t be stopped if people vote his appointee into his position.. Peskin and Daly are aiming to put David Chiu on to the board, thus ensuring Peskin wouldn’t lose any real power.
    Remember this is rank choice voting. So you have to fill in three spots on the ballot this fall. If anyone is interested in the other candidates, feel free to e-mail me.

  20. Posted by NoeValleyJim

    The report documents that Seattle has built twice as much housing annually compared to SF, despite Seattle’s smaller population
    I see. Yes, the 20 year average for Seattle is higher than the 20 year average for San Francisco. But recently that has changed, and many posters here seem to have not realized that. I am a SPUR member, btw, and am familiar with that issue of the Urbanist.
    It is important to not lose our momentum, I agree.

  21. Posted by citicritter

    The crazy thing is the ‘design’ (if you can call it that), after all the previous versions having been rejected, is certainly getting no better, and may be worse than ever — good job SF, By the time something is built it’ll be guaranteed to be absolute mediocrity!

  22. Posted by tetsuotrees

    “By the time something is built it’ll be guaranteed to be absolute mediocrity!”
    Isn’t that the aim, comrade?

  23. Posted by Jones

    The latest banner on the old Pagoda sums up the attitude of most of the neighbors. Could we please make some progress by ensuring we don’t elect more “progressives” like Peskin and his hand-chosen successor, Chiu?

  24. Posted by Don R.

    Is this theater really a San Francisco landmark? I can seem to find article to confirm it. Pls respond

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