RichmondSFBlog reader Bob H. lives right near the old Alexandria theater at Geary and 18th Avenue, so he’s taken a special interest in the plans for its revitalization. Last week, he sent me the latest proposal for the new retail spaces and movie theater that are planned for the property.
Residential units, with commercial space on the ground floor, are also planned for the back parking lot on 18th Avenue that adjoins the current property; plans for those have not changed.
Many of the changes made in this latest version reflect efforts to preserve more of the building’s art deco detail that was part of the original design. Elevation Architects, who provided these latest designs, also made changes to improve access to the second floor which will house a movie theater and restaurant.
Architectural drawings of the 2nd floor where the theater and restaurant are located. Click to enlarge.
The theater, which will be on the second floor of the building, was reduced from 250 to 221 seats and most importantly, was moved to the south end of the building to expose more historic elements:
With the theatre in the center of the space, the murals on the east and west walls will be fully revealed and viewable for the first time since 1976 [when the two additional theaters were added upstairs]. In addition to removing the walls of the theatre that attach to the mural on the west wall, the configuration of the new theatre would be symmetrical revealing the entire dome at the ceiling that has been compromised by the 1976 design.
The theatre design from 1942 had a projection room that was centered at the rear of the auditorium. In 1976, a wall was built across the back of the auditorium to add two projection rooms for the new upper theatres. This revision will remove the additional projection rooms and reveal decorative plaques and ceiling vent grilles that are at south wall of auditorium.
The latest designs also include a new elevator and elevator lobby on the first floor to provide access to the spaces on the second floor (previously access was provided via a ramp). To accomplish this, they’ll build into the existing west exit alley and exit stairs will instead run along the west wall of the theatre. Restrooms will also be added on the second floor to service the movie theater and restaurant.
Changes were also made to the retail spaces on the bottom floor, dividing what was one large retail unit into four smaller ones (commercial spaces 1-4 in the architectural drawings). Based on the plans, shoppers can enter through either the corner of the building or via doors on 18th Avenue, which open into a hallway with access to all the stores.
Architectural drawings of the 1st floor where retail space is located. Click to enlarge.
This Wednesday, January 19, the Historic Preservation Commission is having a meeting at 12:30pm in Room 400 at City Hall. On the agenda is a discussion of the Alexandria project, and these new plans will be presented. The meeting is open to the public.
What do you think of these latest plans for the Alexandria property?
A rendering of the residential units that will be built in what is now a parking lot on 18th Avenue.