“The [Metreon] will see significant changes, including a new main entrance on Fourth Street. The building will also face outward more; restaurants along Fourth Street will have entrances onto the street, and the building will better incorporate the park at its back. With new glass façades on the first two floors, the Metreon will feel much more transparent.”
Metreon’s new lease on life: Culture, food [Business Times]

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by SC

    I wonder if this is the beginning of the 4th Street “gentrification” that we’ve talked about a lot on this site.
    Can’t wait to see the changes at the Metreon!

  2. Posted by Jake

    Although I’m happy about these changes, exactly how old is the Metreon? 8 years? How sad it is that they messed it up so badly the first go-round wasting millions in the process only to realize shortly thereafter that a movie-food court in SoMa just doesn’t work.

  3. Posted by The Milkshake of Despair

    Turning the restaurants outward to the street is definitely a good idea. That increases the “doorknob density” along 4th.
    I’m just bummed that I didn’t see the Airtight Garage exhibit before it was dismantled.

  4. Posted by jlasf

    Why not scrap the whole idea and let Don Fisher have the building for his contemporary art museum? Now that the Westfield mall has movies and a better food court, the Metreon is redundant.

  5. Posted by EH

    Jake: By my count this is (at least) the third go-round for the Metreon. On the upside, the life of the Metreon is what taught me about urban corruption, getting things built on sketchy business plans, and worrying later about what to do with it. Maybe they’ll get a bunch of those cellphone and jewelry kiosks blocking walkways like at Serramonte and Stonestown.

  6. Posted by g

    What I hate most about going to the Metreon is the wannabe (or even real) gangsters hanging around the place. Remember the shooting not to long ago? If they can attract a better set of clientele the atmosphere there would be a million times better.

  7. Posted by Brutus

    jlasf,
    The Metreon’s movie theater has one of the highest per-screen revenue rates in the country. The screens were added across the street specifically because the Metreon was overwhelmed – there isn’t any redundancy with the movie theater. The food court, sure, though the food court across the street never has anywhere to sit, so maybe there’s room for two of those too.

  8. Posted by mow

    I remember watching this building under construction and wondering why the finished product turned its back on fourth street. Shopping mall designs that center retail inward in the middle of a city don’t usually work well. The fourth street side should have been designed like the park side. With glass making the activity visible to pedestrians walking past. It looks like the same thing was done on the Mission street side of Westfield center.

  9. Posted by Turin

    I think just opening the place to Mission and Fourth will make a huge difference. There is absolutely nothing about the building’s current design that makes you want to go inside. The park side is better, but can also be improved. The changes they are talking about might be what finally turns this place around — literally and figuratively.

  10. Posted by etslee

    Isn’t Tavern on the Green moving in this summer?
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/05/07/financial/f072851D60.DTL&feed=rss.business
    Yerba Buena is still my favorite urban green space in the city.

  11. Posted by seehsee

    A friend of mine was on the original PR team for the Metreon when it was first introduced. The concept was for a much higher-end entertainment experience than the Metreon now offers. The Sony and Microsoft stores were intended more as showrooms where consumers would interact with merchandise but purchase it elsewhere. As time passed, however, it became clear that the gaming arcade, movie theater and less “cultural” attractions were making money. In the end, the ghetto/mall rat demographic became the key customer. Now, the Metreon is just dirty and gross, as is the corner of 4th and Mission. An overhaul is in order.

  12. Posted by zzzzzzzz

    My guess is that closing down the gaming arcade will do at least as much for the creepiness at 4th and Mission as any of the architectural changes.

  13. Posted by curmudgeon

    The original concept was so laughable, although it’s “urban entertainment” mode was a hot ticket item for about 3 minutes. The Metreon initially had several “experiences” like “Where the Wild Things Are” and “The Way things Work”. But the tickets were overpriced for what was offered, and who wants to go to something like that more than once, anyway. They closed and nothing ever really replaced them. Architecturally, too, it was just so wrong, with tons of circulation and no where to sell anything. It was doomed from the start.
    I’m so glad the current owners are finally doing something. Tavern on the Green will be great…that upstairs space is so wonderful and has been vacant for years.

  14. Posted by spencer

    “What I hate most about going to the Metreon is the wannabe (or even real) gangsters hanging around the place. Remember the shooting not to long ago? If they can attract a better set of clientele the atmosphere there would be a million times better.
    Posted by: g at November 7, 2008 10:24 AM”
    I agree with G. The clientele is the problem. Go to Jillian’s on a Friday or sat. night and you will see the B & T wanna be gangsters who wreck havoc in the area. The building is fine and i actually like the theatres. i jsut stay away because of the clientele

  15. Posted by Eric in SF

    One of the most surreal experiences of my life was ringing in the new millennium on Dec 31 1999 at the Metreon, dancing to house music on the ground floor under those weird moving panels. It was brand-new then and everyone thought it would be the greatest thing ever. In reality over half the building was closed down and we were crushed into the spaces left. In the end, it was awful as a dance club and it’s been pretty bad as a shopping mall since.
    These changes are very interesting and I look forward to seeing more drawings/renderings of the changes.

  16. Posted by Ryan

    I second the Tavern on the Green.
    A friend of mine that works for Westfield was telling me about this… I wonder how it will do?

  17. Posted by KG

    The metreon area tanked even more after efforts to purge folk from in front of Westfield made them relocate to the Met.
    I’d never visit the area if it wasn’t for Imax, CCSF, and using Mission to avoid Mkt. st. crowds.

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