The Overture is Halted
As quickly as progress started, it came to a grinding halt. The long awaited C Street revitalization and redevelopment looked to be on the horizon. On its 90th birthday in April of 2017, the California Theatre (located at Fourth Avenue and C Street) received a grim yet exciting birthday present when the City Council approved its demolition in favor of a 40-story residential tower. This redevelopment called “The Overture”, would rise 422 feet, include 282 apartments or condos, and encompass 11,000 square feet of retail space. In addition, there would be space for displaying art and the original marquee sign would be restored and reinstalled.
This was to be a huge step in the development of C Street, as the 2,200-seat theatre has been closed for more than 25 years and contaminated with asbestos and lead. Sloan Capital Partners anticipated that the $120 million project could open by late 2019 or early 2020.
Fast forward to this past Friday when a judge ordered that an environmental impact study be amended, requiring the city to consider other options for the building. The original environmental report considered several alternatives for the site, but failed to include at least one preservation alternative. This violated the California Environmental Quality Act. A new environmental impact study will include a public comment period and will result in an extensive delay.
All C Street can do now is stare into East Village and other areas that are booming with new opportunities. What were once districts with bleak futures are now blossoming, attractive San Diego submarkets. Maker’s Quarter, Shift, Alexan, and other redevelopment sites are providing new housing opportunities, entertainment spots, and retail spaces that San Diego craves. One day C Street hopes to flourish likes its counterparts on the other side of town.
History of the California Theater
The California Theatre opened in 1927, a year before talkies began to replace silent movies. At the time it was the largest movie palace in the city. It was used for other venues such as vaudeville acts, first-run movies and live concerts.
Following its closure in 1990, this nine-story office tower has been extensively vandalized. Consequently it was boarded up and a chain-link fence was erected around its base.
Information was obtained from the March 5th article by the San Diego Union Tribune titled "Demolition of California Theatre Halted".
Article can be found HERE