Alexandria Theater 2014

The dilapidated Alexandria Theater at 5400 Geary Boulevard which was approved for redevelopment over a year ago has been sold.  And according to Jessica Zhao, a representative for the new ownership group, the buyers are focused on getting the residential component of the development underway.

Alexandria Theater Rendering 2013

As plugged-in people know, the approved plans for the project called for the existing building to be converted into a single-screen theater with retail on the ground floor and a 7,000-square-foot restaurant on the second, while a “Spanish/Mediterranean” styled building with 37 condos was to rise on the theater’s parking lot along 18th Avenue.

Alexandria Theater Redevelopment: Residential Component

From the Richmond District Blog’s report:

Zhao says they are “taking a hard look at what is practical” for the main building, which includes discussions with the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation (SFNTF) on the viability of having a small theater operate on the property. The SFNTF has helped save many neighborhood theaters in the city including our own Balboa Theater, the Clay Theater and Vogue Theater.

Zhao says that until that research is completed, nothing will be decided about how the commercial space will be used in the main building. When asked if the Alamo Drafthouse is still being considered as a partner, Zhao said that their first step is to consult with the SFNTF.

“We need to do more research to look at what will work best for this space,” Zhao said. “We also don’t want to have a bunch of empty storefronts there either.”

Shuttered in 2004, by 2010 the theater had become “a haven for homeless” with a crumbling façade, a boarded-up box office, and a once-vibrant entrance riddled with flies and the stench of urine.

As part of the project as originally proposed and approved, the theater’s marquee, blade, and art deco bode sign were to be restored along with the terrazzo flooring at the theater’s entry and its marble clad ticket booth.

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Comments from “Plugged-In” Readers

  1. Posted by invented

    Put a tower on the theater.

  2. Posted by Wai Yip Tung

    I love cinema and I mourn the passing of each of them. But Alexandria has been closed for more than a decade. How realistic is it to open a new cinema in this location? Unless people has a new concept like the New People Cinema in Japantown, I don’t see a rehash of the past can be sustainable there.

  3. Posted by jill

    that would be a great subway stop

  4. Posted by anon

    Why do we need to “save” the old theaters? Tear it down? We are not Los Angeles, movies were not created here, it is not some part of some San Francisco legacy, and there is nothing in the architecture of this theater that is worthy of recognition or preservation.

    • Posted by Bob

      You must be new here. Anything over 20 years old is considered a historic resource.

    • Posted by Sierrajeff

      Because it’s a beautiful old building, the likes of which aren’t built any more, and you have all of SoMa to screw up with your glass boxes. Let the neighborhoods have their landmarks and icons.

      • Posted by anon

        This is a “beautiful old building”? Have you actually been to this building?

  5. Posted by NJ

    Not pulling any punches with that dreary leaden sky in the picture :)
    Truth.

  6. Posted by noemom

    I think they should embellish the proposed housing with more loggias scattered throughout. And different levels and more tile. Get that real California/Spanish/Mediterranean/Southern California look, and embellish the “Egyptian” architectural details of the theater. Paint the units white, not mauve and brown. I am tired of all this dark stuff that everyone is doing.

    As for the movie theater, bring it back. With the Coronet gone, the Surf gone, those theaters on Clement gone, the Bridge is supposedly turning into a batting cage facility, all that is out there is the Star, well and the Balboa which has no heating system that works. Richmond merchants want to make the district, more of a destination. I think a movie theater in a neighborhood is always worth saving. Wish we had the Noe.

    • Posted by soccermom

      How much money has your family spent in the past 24 months at any of the small neighborhood theaters you mentioned?

  7. Posted by grumpy

    i remember being one of maybe 10 people watching a movie there on a Saturday night before it closed, times have changed.

  8. Posted by joh

    I remember watching midnight showings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show and Dawn of the Dead here.

  9. Posted by Joseph A

    As a Movie Theater , probably a really bad idea , But how about post renovation for Live Theater , with the 1st floor for a Dinning Space , and above that a Live Performance Space ?

    I could see the City giving the owner some Tax breaks for them to take the space in a direction that might work , and also drive traffic to the local dinning spots ,

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