Center Theater to become shell of former self

The owner of the Center Theater obtained his permit to gut the inside of the theater. David Siddiq said the demolition will begin Monday and that he already has a deal in place to sell the 260 seats to an outfit out of LA.

To get the demolition permit, Siddiq had to surrender his theater permit, so the Center Theater really isn’t a theater anymore.

Matt Artz


  1. So much for how well the newcomers in the neighborhood are going to fit it. This is going to cause a lot more animosity in Little Kabul.

  2. I don’t blame Siddiq in the slightest. This is a major failing of the city government. But surely their stupidity was fueled by our citizen’s irrational belief that a performing arts center would ever be viable in this culturally fragmented city.

  3. Centerville.. the forgotten district. As demonstrated by city officials over the years.

  4. Suck revenue(taxes) from all of the other districts, tell everyone about the problems you’re having executing – – – – except in Niles.

  5. I am monothematic but here is review of the fallout from Willow Glen pulling a “Siddiq”
    ….the theatre itself being an anchor for the bustling Lincoln Avenue business district. I still do not understand why the people of Willow Glen, activists that so many of them are, could not prevent the destruction of this theatre down to a shell of its former self. This would have been a perfect venue for independent and art-house films and the yuppie types that live near it would have packed the place. I will never stop shaking my head over the loss of this theatre. I think it would have been a cinch to prevent, but nobody seemed to care. If the Fox/California could be saved in a downtown dead zone, then there’s no reason the Garden couldn’t have been saved in a thriving business district. Shame on all Willow Glen residents who sat by and let this happen.


  6. Maybe he will remake it into a night club establishment like the re-done old theaters in Sunnyvale and Mountain View. But then again, this is Fremont or more appropriately, the No Fun Zone.

    Centerville’s slogan should be…

    “Please go spend your entertainment dollars elsewhere – There’s nothing to see here.”

  7. So, he couldn’t get the permit to use a theater as a theater, but he could get a permit to gut the inside? This man is probably frustrated beyond belief. The bureaucratic process is truly Kafkaesque.

  8. The city of Fremont wanted to buy the theatre, Fremont city leaders said NO,it was to expensive.
    So the owner ask for a permit to have some entertainment venues there.
    The Fremont City Council said NO, they claimed there was not enough parking. HUH
    I do not blame the owner for what he is doing. The city virtually screwed him because he would not give the theatre to the city at the City of Fremonts price.
    I am wondering wht He does not sue the city.
    Fremont is a NO Entertainment Zone.

  9. It would be interesting if we could fast-forward the theatre to a modernized venue. You know – first-run films, surround sound, the whole thing – – – albeit within the physical constraints of the existing structure. . . . .

    With that “approved” vision in mind ask yourselves – – what are the demands on the surround community in the way of parking ? What would be the impact on the surrounding area by sound pressure levels emanating from the theatre if equipped to modern standards ?

    Most importantly, how much of a real difference would there be – if at all – between this hypothetical and “approved” use as compared to the impact of the proposed and “denied” uses ?

    THe guy could conceivably fill his seats with patrons tomorrow, most of whom would be seeking parking somewhere – and he’d be perfectly within the current “approved” use to do so . . . . he could rattle the windows of his building with the same kind of sound system found in any theatre . . . and be perfectly within the scope of his current use permit.

    Now – say again, why did we deny his PROPOSED use ??

  10. Folks…This is nothing new. The city forced some of the viable businesses out from the Unified Site near the theater. The city is doing it again, by devaluing the property through permitting process. When nothing is allowed to operate, the city or their cronies will then scoop the property on the cheap, rezone to their needs, and build it for their benefit. Like $1 for Unified site after spending $20+M over the years of taxpayer’s money.

    Siddiq made a mistake for not talking to people who had dealt with the city’s dark side, nor was he the “insiders” or crony developers. Simple.

    Let’s don’t waste time trying to find reasons since the city has in their bag of tricks all the reasons, codes, ordinances for them to intepret and justify their decisions. Let’s don’t forget they also have the Planning Department’s discretional authority, Planning Commission, and Wasserman and Co. at helm as additional layers to deny whatever Saddiq whats to do.

    Maybe Vinnie or whoever can, for once, work for the benefit of Fremont citizens.

  11. I seem to remember something about the building, which is old, needing sprinklers / upgrade for fire repression / safety before it could be used as a theater – and the owner refusing to do that.

    Generally speaking, the materials in a building that old are dried out and would burn extremely fast.

  12. (#2) Marty,

    I would be right there with you — right up to the point when Siddiq got the permit to gut.

    The current city counsel missed a great opportunity for sure, but now the theater will NEVER be a theater again.

    Future city counsels will never get a chance to do right by Centerville regarding that space. No one will ever have enough money to turn it “back” into a theater once it has been cored out. And that move was all Siddiq’s.

    So I respectfully disagree.

  13. #4…Just a little Niles resentment has been detected.
    #10… I would vote for WHOEVER if you want someone to “work for the benefit of Fremont citizens.” Vinnie legacy will forever be successfully chaseing away the biggest cash cow that was ever going to come to Fremont.

  14. Charlie, this whole debacle is probably Niles’ fault. If there was a theater in Centerville, we’d be jealous. I’m sure there were back room deals involving doilies.

  15. Loads of nonesense here but the question is still outstanding – why did we deny Siddiq’s request ?

    How does the POTENTIAL impact of his currently approved use vary from that which he was proposing ?

    Clue #1 – it doesnt.

    P.S. – lots, and lots, and lots of work going on upgrading and maintaining the streets, sewers and even a couple of privately-owned access roads in Niles these days. Meanwhile, residents in other districts are being asked to maintain their own trees.

  16. Andrew #12 – Siddiq can’t keep bleeding money to satisfy other’s whims about an arts center. He offered a profitable alternative, which Box rightly infers was not much different from what he was permitted to do. The council said no, flat out.

    You can’t blame someone for doing what they gotta do to survive up in this mother, you know what I’m sayin’?

  17. This will definitely be a campaign issue, how the present City Councilmembers are NOT making decisions that benefit the residents of Fremont.

    There was enough parking for the Fremonts proposed Performing Arts Center but not for Mr Siddigs modest request for entertainment events.
    This really STINKS, Petty Politics.
    What have you to say Council Members Harrison, Chan, Dutra, Nataragan

  18. Oh, Charlie – please dont confuse concerns re the obvious inequity with which our Council and Mayor distribute resources with anything like envy !

    Quite the contrary.

    Given that diesel airborne emissions dissipate roughly as the as the squre of the distance one resides from a given source, many of the Niles folks are virtually swimming in the emissions, particulates, and noise which results from this frequent (and, occassional, high speed) traffic.

    Envy ? – never.

    Pity ? – my heart goes out to these folks.

  19. my heart goes out to these folks.

    Thanks for the concern, Box.

    Sent from my iPad under the sunshine that casts itself upon the brand new Niles Town Plaza.

  20. Hey Boxie, does this mean you won’t be coming to the Niles Main Street Pink Flamingo Peewee Golf Tournament on Oct. 2? Could be more fun than hunkering down in the bunker with Bacon, Choo Choo McDonald and the CalGuy. If you do decide to come you might just start turning green with envy. No worries…”given that diesel airborne emissions” you fear, someone in Niles is sure to have a spare gas mask!

  21. Hello everyone. After reading many of your comments, I have decided to respond and show you my point of view. I hope that you take the time to read what I have to say.

    My name is David Siddiq and I am currently the owner of Center Theatre in Fremont. Seven years ago, I purchased Center Theatre when it was run down and needed extensive renovations, but I decided to purchase it because I had a vision for it. I had a vision that I could restore Center Theatre back to prominence and revitalize the Centerville Area and turn the Fremont downtown center into an area that would rival Pleasanton’s downtown or Walnut Creek’s downtown. Unfortunately, however, the City of Fremont’s consistent denials of my requests to expand operations at the Theatre have left me with few options. Like most people in this economy, I cannot afford to maintain a business that produces no income whatsoever.

    For those of you who are attacking me as not caring about the City of Fremont, you could not be further from the truth. In the past 30 years, I have done many things to revitalize this area including (but not limited to): constructing 4 different shopping centers, opening a banquet hall, cycle center, pizza shop, and opening a restaurant to attract business to this area. I love Fremont and you are right, this is not Little Kabul, this is Centerville and respect the heritage that comes to this territory. By remodeling and revitalizing Center Theatre, I had the same hopes that the City of Fremont had which is to build a community arts facility and theatre which could be enjoyed by everyone in our community. The city, however, has been far from helpful in this process and has consistently halted any progress I have made in an effort to force me to sell the property to them. I will not give into these strong-arm tactics, however, because I believe that I have a vision that can help revitalize this entire area and stimulate our local economy. I do not believe that the City of Fremont can make the changes I can because, let’s be honest, our down town area has not seen any changes within the past 30 years. While cities like Pleasanton, Livermore, and Walnut Creek continue to make concessions to help attract business owners and update their downtown areas, the City of Fremont is doing the opposite—making business owners like myself not want to do business in Fremont anymore and demolishing existing buildings in the area with no plans to construct new ones.

    I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by my reference to the “Centerville Dump.” I hope you can understand that these comments stem from my growing frustration with the City council members, and not with the City of Fremont. I love Fremont and have lived here for over 30 years. My adult children have gone to high school in this city (MSJ) and I have sponsored local sports teams here for over 20 years. I want nothing more for this city than to rejuvenate the Theatre and bring this Theatre back so that consumers like yourselves can come back and relive past memories here.

    At this time, after reading your responses, I have decided to HALT demolition for the time being. I do not want to let my emotions ruin any progress that I have made on revitalizing this Theatre but I need your help at this time. If you would like the Theatre to stay, please call your local City Council representatives and convey your feelings. Furthermore, if you have any ideas on how you would like the Theatre to proceed, please feel free to call me at 510-390-1000. Additionally, if anyone feels that they would be more capable of running this Theatre, I am open to making a lease arrangement. Thank you for your time.

  22. Mr. Siddiq apparently desires what the rest of the residents of Fremont desire for our city – a vital walkable area within the city to eat, have coffee, shop and see a movie or an arts performance.

    For whatever reason, the dozen or so people that run and make decisions for the city have absolutely NO clue what the citizenry would like to see here. I cannot for the life of me figure out why people don’t just vote these people all out of office. Whoever else may come in certainly cannot do any worse.

    Per Mr. Siddiq’s suggestion, I’ll make sure to contact the city council to convey my feelings regarding the area. It’s nice to see a property owner who lives in the area and has an interest in improvement. We cannot however, fault the man for becoming frustrated and fed up in trying to deal with the city of Fremont. If he wanted to knock the place down and build low income housing, I’m sure he’d have had approval long ago.

  23. To:

    I would like to Thank You for your explanation and intentions of the former theater. I personaly feel that the city has not given Centerville the attention it deserves interms of redevelopment. The only thing that stands out is the train station.

    Centerville has a rich history and whats left should be preserved.

    Are you listening Fremont Council???….

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