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Pagoda Theater to Become Home to Central Subway Boring Machine

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The Palace at Washington Square proposal [Photo: nc2studio]

The long-vacant drama-lightning rod Pagoda Theater in North Beach is back before the Planning Commission tomorrow, this time for a unique proposal. Back in 2009, the site was approved for rehab of the existing theater into a 4,000 sq.ft. restaurant, 1,000 sq.ft. of commercial space and 18 condos with 27 parking spaces. The Pagoda Theater officially closed in 1994 and has been vacant since. Lack of funding stalled things, and there was even a moment head of MTA Ed Reskin wanted to buy the Pagoda and make it a new subway stop for the Central Subway line. The new project by SWS, ceremoniously called "The Palace at Washington Square" (ugh), will demo the existing theater to build a new five-story over basement mixed-use building at the same height and configuration, containing up to 18 condos, a 4,700 sq.ft. restaurant, and up to 27 off-street parking spaces.

The plan is basically the same, only now the interior can be tweaked because of the new construction. Following demo of the theater, but before construction of the new mixed-use building starts, the site would be utilized for extraction of a tunnel boring machine associated with the Central Subway project. Now we're sure people are going to throw a sh*t-fit (guano-fit?) over the demo of the theater, but so far the Planning Department has only received letters of support. Sounds like the political pressure to make the Central Subway project happen will trump any complaints over the long-long-long-vacant theater. At least the historic blade sign will be rehabilitated as part of the proposal - maybe that will appease the haters.
· Past Coverage of the Pagoda Theater [Curbed SF]
· Conditional Use Application for 1731 Powell Street [SF Planning]