Part of the Bay Area News Group

Curtains for the Center Theater

By Matt Artz
Wednesday, August 31st, 2011 at 11:19 pm in Uncategorized.

It’s hard to know when the owner of the Center Theater is joking. When he tells me that he’s going to turn the theater into a massage parlor with happy endings, I think he’s joking.

When he tells me he’s going to turn it into a recycling center and rename it “Center Garbage,” because “it matches the city,” I think he’s half joking. He does think the City Council is garbage.

But when he tells me he’s going to demolish the stage, the screen and the seats inside the venerable 64-year-old single screen movie theater, I think he’s dead serious.

Why?

Because he has already paid an architect to draw up demolition plans; because he’s already submitted an application to demolish the inside of the theater; and because there’s nothing the city can do to stop him.

The theater owner, David Siddiq, is still angry over the City Council in July denying him a permit to expand uses for the theater to include concerts banquets, dinner shows, etc. Without that permit, he doesn’t think he can make any money with the theater, so he’s decided to rip out everything and turn it into a commercial office space.

Of course the commercial rental market isn’t exactly thriving in Centerville. Trust me, if rents were climbing, the Argus would have moved somewhere else. Like Sri Lanka.

Siddiq thinks the city wouldn’t let him expand the uses for the theater because it wants to diminish its value and then buy it from him and turn it into a community arts center. But the city doesn’t have the money for that anymore. And if Siddiq removes the screen, the seats and the stage, it would all but kill the community arts center plan.

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

  • Andrew C.

    The problem with people doing stupid things (like gutting an old theater) is that now, people who care have to get up off their asses and make time to protest.

    That’s fine when it’s once in a blue moon, but there are too many people doing too many stupid things… we have jobs and lives, dang nab it!

    Please knock it off, stop being short-sighted, and leave this town alone.

  • Dan Ondrasek

    This is a huge mistake.

    There is an example of a community allowing this to happen down in Willow Glen. The owner gutted the theater and made it into offices. It is awful and when you walk that downtown and compare it to some of the other communities I have posted on this BLOG throughout the Bay and California – you really get a sense that it had an impact on the Willow Glen’s ability to attract solid business and restaurants.
    The nightlife sucks.

    I have not had time to look into this but if the building is over 50 years old and has significance, it can be deemed a Historical Landmark which will protect it until a governing body/community group can emerge that has the ability, foresight and muscle to protect this place.

    A strong bi-partisan group must be formed
    (yes Marty and Vinnie must hold hands with Dirk)
    – it works.

  • http://fiddy.com Paul Avila

    What you need to do is rally together and buy the theater. Put together an arts council and raise the money to buy it. Otherwise it’s up to the owner to do whatever. I’ve been to the theater many times in the old days but you need to work together to bring about change.