Center Theater owner decides against demolition — for now

Below is a comment just posted by Center Theater owner David Siddiq. He says he’s holding off on gutting the inside of the theater after reading negative comments posted on the blog.

Not sure if he might have other reasons for deciding against demolition, but for what it’s worth, you guys now can walk up to Dirk Lorenz, look him in the eye, and tell him you’ve done more to save the Center Theater than he ever has.

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.

Matt Artz


  1. Bbox #51
    It is about 8AM in the morning and I was belly laughing at the Geo Carlin famous routine. His routines are just as Now, as it was them, except for the bell bottoms pants.
    One of my fathers quotes was,”When someone is swearing, that means they have nothing intelligent to say”
    Lets keep the blog about Events in Fremont!!!

  2. #52…Bet you’ve been missing me huh Bruce? You, Vinnie and the Box must have all painfully passed a turd-brick when Anu suggested looking into bringing up the A’s to Fremont and building the crown jewel of all baseball stadiums where there is currently a field od weeds…because she is correct! When are all you turd-brick passing business killers going to suck it up a do what’s in the best interest of Fremont?

  3. One of my fathers quotes was,”When someone is swearing, that means they have nothing intelligent to say”
    Lets keep the blog about Events in Fremont!!!

  4. #53 –

    “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience.”

  5. Bbox, Let me get this straight. If I had just called it “a gosh-darned train station..” my post, in your opinion, wouldn’t have been disrespectful, indecent, or over the line?

  6. Charlie C, you’re in the penalty box. Stop it with the name calling. I’ve deleted one post today already. I will do more if necessary. We’ve talked about this before. I really don’t have time to police what should be straightforward: debate Fremont/Tri-City issues without resorting to name calling or egregious profanity. Should be easy enough. Should be, anyway.

  7. #59 – Not mine to pass judgement on, Tony – that’s for Chris to enforce.

    At the time I read your post, I was thinking of Chris D’s recent post which appears here –


    In my little pea-brain view of the world, I thought Chris was requesting a modicum of respect and decorum within the venue and was stating that he would be enforcing same. TO my way of thinking, such a notion would have certainly resulted in the immediate deletion of any post which made use of profanity. After not seeing him immediately hit the delete key, I went back and reviewed his original request and, having done so, corrected my original statements for all to see in #48 above.

    Personally, while I think you limit your audience with a choice of wording that will undoubtedly alientate some, I almost always look forward to your posts as highly entertaining *and*, for the most part, on point.

    Some more background on this issue, and one that is closer to home, is the word of caution that was issued to me here –


    Note that, in response to the use of the phrase “circle jerk”, Chris D. states – “Moving forward, that phrase in most cases is not acceptable” – – – –

    To my way of thinking if “circle jerk” is unacceptable in “most cases”, then a “fucking train station” isn’t EVER acceptable. After all, one is a euphamism, the other is just plain profanity . . .

    I’d freely admit that when it comes to modern sensibilities, I’m definately the last one you should consult.

  8. Centerville is little Kabul. That is why a theater won’t make any money in this location. Why should Centerville be downtown and why does Fremont Need a downtown?

  9. #62 Yes Why. You have to have something that people want to buy to make a profit just because you build a downtown does not mean that you will profit. Fremont does not need a downtown in centerville.How much time and money has Fremont spent on this dead project alredy. TOO MUCH!!
    #37 This is Fremont not Alameda. Different demographics If you haven’t noticed. I.E. little Kabul.

  10. Hallelujah, we have a moderator to do something about the nastiness that’s plagued this ‘blog’ over the last few years. It’s always the same commenters who do it and many of us have just quit bothering to read IBA Buzz because of them. On a whim, I checked in today and, while a lot of the same miscreants are still here, doing the same thing (name calling, juvenile insults, offensive language), the fact that Chris DeBenedetti is trying to do something about the tone/language makes me think I’ll check in more often now.
    Thanks for your efforts, Chris. Please keep it up!

  11. Well that’s peculiar . . . I quoted only what has been said before, in exactly the original context – – and got bleeped.

    I also made reference to Chris’s original statement that a certain not-polite euphamism would, in most cases, be deemed unacceptable – a logical extension of which would be that ANY use of profanity would be unacceptable, but, that was then and this is now – – – – and somehow our sensitivity to what is OK appears to have taken a slight dogleg left . . . . You’ll need to read it for yourselves here –


    Someone help my little pea-brain to understand What is the redeeming quality present in Tony’s use of profanity that was not present in my original impolite euphamism?

    BTW – Tony – I retracted my original expectation of Chris’s need to edit in post #48. Judgement as to what is appropriate and what is not is clearly in the hands of Chris D – – –

  12. Chris d Please help to make clear your guideline re use of profanity. Right now i am completely confused by your willingness to accomodate language in 41 above while also issuing your warning of 8/17/12 referenced in 67 above. Where is any modicum of consistancy? PS. This issue appears to be ( and should be) distinguished from the ad hominem nonesense you are also attempting to clean up.

  13. Bbox…
    This is beginning to sound like Congress. Bbox just use good judgement.If someone lets the f bomb go through, just ignore it.
    Chris does not have the time to be a full time moderator.
    His latest News was more then a week old. This mornings story on a Sculpter that was more then a week old news.
    Chris just “86” them for thirty days, if that does not work just permanently banned them, They have been warned.

  14. Your criticism of my moderating inconsistency is fair and accurate, Bbox. While I’ve restarted attempts to clean up the ad hominem attacks and name-calling, I have let the profanity go. If it offends most or even some of you, I’ll start policing it more. To sum up, I’ll start taking a more active role in policing comments to cut back on profanity

    My overall two cents on this issue:

    My sense is that 99 percent of us are on board with ad hominem attacks and name-calling, but we’re divided on the profanity issue. For instance, I’m way more turned off when one commenter insults another with name-calling, no matter how G-rated the word is. Words like “bozos” or “clowns” are pretty mild but when it’s phrased as “you bozo,” that bothers me way more than a silly non sequitur of “Good night, b******.” But that’s just me. I think it comes to down to basic courtesy and respect, regardless of the FCC-friendliness of it all. Again, that’s just my personal narrow view of things.

    However, as said, if people are offended by profanity (and I’m sure, just to make things complicated, some are offended at those who are offended) … then we can clean up the curse words, along with the ad hominem personal attacks.

    I don’t have time to go back and clean up past posts. Let’s make it a rule moving forward. Make your points, disagree, but be respectful and don’t curse.

    Should be simple enough. [Famous last words 🙂 ]

  15. While all you Decent, White, God-Fearing Citizens of Rockfridgemont were getting all worked up over some silly words, the city council bought some 70 year old art class guru’s tin-can sculpture for 200 grand and wrote another check for 50 thou to put the da*ned thing up. -And Not EVEN iN FROnt of The SENIOR CENTER!

    I can’t decide what’s nuttier though.
    the idea that this thing “will certainly get on every postcard that says’Fremont'”,
    or the idea that someone might buy, send or even try to sell a postcard from Fremont!

  16. Good Luck Chris. I want this to be about local news, any local news.
    The Patch is doing a pretty decent Job with the local news.
    I think Southern Alameda County ought to be getting the San Jose Mercury, that is where I go for entetainment, dinning.. I am to scared to go anywhere close to Oakland.
    Fremont has no entertainment or night life.

  17. Thanks for the courtesy of a response, Chris.

    I guess, more than anything – I hope to advocate for consistancy in whatever you choose to do.

    Anything less begins to stink of something orhter than common sense.

    A warning over a euphamism stinks in the face of permitted profanity.

    No problems w/me on either one frankly – I was with you on the original cautionary note.

    When the f-bomb slid by without ANY comment, now we’re beginning to play favorites.

    Do whatever your gonna do – but be consistant.

    Very much appreciate your participation. You are clearly attempting to bring some credibility to the venue. Thanks –

    Still owe you that brew. Thinkin’ I may just drop off a package for you at the office.

  18. ” I may just drop off a package for you at the office.”

    Expect a bomb or Mr Box in something crotchless. But first decide which is worse.

  19. #37-75 – I faintly remember this beign about some theater or some such thing…

  20. #75
    and the beat goes on !!!!!! With all due respect here’s some local news for ya Bruce…Bacon means business for those who work at the EDD and are dealing with all the jobs you and all your people have chased out of Fremont.

  21. #76 – did you have something you wanted to share with the class, Dan?

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