Yesterday we learned of the new (and unexpected!) plans for the old Alexandria Theater (5400 Geary) that were submitted to the Planning Department this month. The new plans include a swim center, a learning center with 12 classrooms, and office space.
The project, developed by TimeSpace Group in Saratoga, CA, completely re-imagines the interior space of the old theater building.
Level 1: Swim Center
Entering on the street level, you come into a lobby that leads into the 6,900 square foot Swim Center that features one small pool and one large pool, bordered by a visitor’s gallery on the west side. The wall that was formerly the mirrored backdrop to the theater’s candy counter in the lobby will be opened with windows into the Swim Center.
Level 2: Learning Center
On the second floor is the Learning Center that features 12 classrooms, a small indoor amphitheater, and two offices. The center is accessed through the main lobby up the grand staircase (as well as via new elevators).
The plans describe the Learning Center as “focused on continuing education or advanced learning for students between the ages of 6 to 14 (from K to 8th grades) through additional educational activities”. The space can also be a “gathering space for evening meetings for local non-profit and community groups”.
Level 3: Business Center
On the new third floor, which would still sit inside the existing theater structure, is the Business Center with 8,000 square feet of open office space beneath the theater’s domed ceiling. The office level is open in one corner to look down on the amphitheater, and also includes a 250 square foot conference room.
“Located on the “roof” of essentially a new building built within the shell of the existing building, the office space seems to float between the east and west mural walls, just below the historic ceiling and dome with its original 1923 chandelier.”
On the exterior of the building, much will remain the same but some changes will be implemented. The marquee and box office will remain in place, as will the tall blade marquee on the Geary side of the building; all will be refurbished. But the 1976 marquee, which currently reads as “1 2 3” to denote the three theaters that made up the Alexandria Theater in its later years, will be removed.
Inside the building, the plans preserve much of the Art Deco ornamentation of the building including the murals, accents in the lobby like the “jeweled” water fountain and bronze rail staircase, and restoration of the historic ceiling and dome.
This is not the first foray for TimeSquare Group into the realm of aquatics and community centers. Company founder Yorke Lee is also the founder of Saratoga Star Aquatics and Milpitas Star Aquatics and Fitness center.
TimeSquare is also the developer behind the Alexandria Residences currently being erected behind the theater on 18th Avenue. The new four-story development will consist of two levels of underground parking with 122 spaces, approximately 4,800 square feet of retail spaces on the ground floor, and 43 dwelling units on the upper floors, including one, two and three-bedroom units. Construction began on the project in June 2016.
So, what do you think, Richmond District? Let us know in the comments.