The century old Castro Theater in SF undergoes $15 million renovation

ByChris Bollini Localish logo
Monday, March 25, 2024
Century old theater undergoes $15 million renovation
The renovation will take the landmark theater to another level with state-of-the-art upgrades.The century old Castro Theater in San Francisco is undergoing a major renovation that will restore the landmark theater to its 1922 opening day glory.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Another Planet Entertainment spokesperson David Perry stands in the middle of the 1,400 seat National Landmark Castro Theater.

"They don't built theaters like this anymore, the molding, the gold leaf," Perry reveals. "It's the definition of classic movie palace architecture."

The Castro Theater built by the Nasser Family in 1922 and designed by Timothy L. Pflueger has been a movie theater for 102 years.

"One of the things people love about coming to the Castro Theater, and I've been coming here since 1986 so almost 40 years, is the visual experience when you come in," Perry recalls. "There is an art deco chandelier that is just unlike anything else that I've ever seen in a theater anywhere."

The theater, adorned with gold columns and fancy wall tapestries, screened its last film on February 4, 2024. Its doors closed in preparation for a major renovation.

"Another Planet Entertainment is not only restoring that movie palace glory, but is making this an adaptable space so we can do comedy, we can do music, we can do special events," Perry explains. "But always, at least 1/3 of the time, here at the Castro Theater, there will be film which is what made this place so special."

The renovation will cost more than $15 million and take approximately 15 months to complete. The restoration will also include several modern day improvements like a fully ADA compliant auditorium and stage, acoustic upgrades, and a new seating system.

"And we will have something that generations of Castro Theater goers will really appreciate," Perry adds with a smile, "heating in the winter and air conditioning in the summer."

A month and half into the renovation, Another Planet Senior Vice President Mary Conde stands under the art deco ceiling, pointing out decades of accumulated dirt and discolorations.

"It's really just a lot of nicotine, dirt, and dust up there," Conde shares. "We can clean this up, put new gold leaf on all the ropes and ribbons and tassels. People aren't going to recognize the ceiling when they come back here."

Attention is being paid to every detail so that the reopened theater can continue to serve as a community gathering place for people to enjoy the arts and entertainment.

"100 years from now, the Castro Theater will be here preserving the spirit of the theater and most importantly, the spirit of the people who come to the Castro Theater and sit in this audience."

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