As per the SF Business Times, there's a hearing this morning at the Historic Preservation Commission to look over Gus Murad's proposal to turn his landmark New Mission Theater into a 5-screen multiplex with Alamo Drafthouse as the operator. Like all things Murad, this one's not simple, since the also plan calls for a lot split, ceding an area in the back of the building (on Bartlett Street) to the Giant Value building, which is apparently in the design phase for new condominiums at the draft EIR stage. To recap, most of the New Mission building is on Bartlett Street, and the iconic Timothy Pflueger pylon on Mission Street tops the entrance to a long hall, which then leads to an immense lobby and the once-lovely triple-tiered auditorium.
The plan is to turn the lobby into a kitchen and bar (the projectionist's booth gets to be a private room) with the main auditorium trimmed down, three small theaters in the balcony, and one in the upper balcony. All of this with full-on seismic, AD and exits, plus restoration of the Beaux-Arts interiors by the Reid Brothers in 1916 and Pflueger's Art Deco renovations from 1932. So far, all Murad and his partners are looking for is a Certificate of Appropriateness, and with a few reservations, staff recommends approval, but except for mentioning the lot split, is silent on the 95-condo development planned for the Giant Value site.
Murad bought the site from City College in 2003 and always had plans to turn it into a food/film/event venue, and an alliance with Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse continues that. There's a timeline from preservation group Friends of 1800. Unused and empty for a few years and briefly a furniture store, a group broke into the theater in March 2006 and held a rave. Some 300 people were chased out by the police and there was substantial damage, including extensive graffiti. For better or worse, the party's been immortalized on Flickr.
· Five-screen movie theater coming to Mission District? [J.K. Dineen/SF Business Times]
· Gus Murad Coverage on Curbed SF [Curbed Sf Archives]
· New Mission Theater on Curbed SF [Curbed SF Archives]
· New Mission Theater Party [kate at yr own risk/Flickr]
· New Mission Theater [Friends of 1800]