A 100-year-old San Francisco theater which has been shuttered for nearly two decades may soon be starting a new chapter as a 76-unit affordable housing complex.
According to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the Alexandria Theater in the city’s Richmond District is the subject of negotiations between District Supervisor Connie Chan and the property’s owners, TimeSpace Group LLC. Chan had initially sought to have the theater landmarked, which the owners argued would make any redevelopment project impossible. Yet previous attempts to transform the theater into other purposes have been stymied over the years and its once-grand exterior has long been a rusting and derelict eyesore.
“I am just so pleased that we are finally able to turn a new page for this historic site,” said Chan, adding that she hoped there could be an agreement that would enable “some flexibility for housing and development. That’s what we need, and I think we can do that.”
TimeSpace will need to work with the city attorney and the planning department to draft the development agreement, which will then need approval by the Board of Supervisors.
The Alexandria opened in 1923, with an interior design that emulated pharaonic Egypt. Initially a second-run theater, it was upgraded to a first-run venue during the 1950s and offered the exclusive San Francisco premieres of many Hollywood extravaganzas. The theater was subdivided into a triplex in 1976 and was closed in 2004. Last January, the theater’s iconic sign with the “Alexandria” name was taken down after deteriorating from years of neglect.
Photo: The Alexandria in July 2020, courtesy Annie Lore / Bay Area Historic Theaters / Facebook