If you happened to tune into yesterday's Planning Commission meeting on SFGovTV (you didn't), you were treated to a delightful chorus of goofy neighborhood old-timers reminiscing about first kisses in the back-rows and sneaking past ushers at the New Mission Theater. And those nostalgic stories prompted the Commission to go ahead and approve, as Planning Commissioner Kathrin Moore awkwardly and hilariously called it, the “Gangnam style, swagger style” condo and theater renovation project at 22nd and Mission.
This, without the slightest hint of hyperbole, is the best thing ever, as we're now getting a brand-spankin'-new 5-screen, 348-seat, beer and food-serving Alamo Drafthouse. They're even looking to install a valet bike parking station in the lobby for 40+ bikes!
Construction is slated to begin as early as this summer, with an expected completion date of who-the-fuck-knows.
First, this is going to be the third time I source something from “popular real estate blog” SocketSite within a few weeks. Normally I hate real estate blogs and cannot manage to read past the first word of any given post (not including Curbed, of course), but now I'm reading one at 8pm on a Wednesday night? I'm concerned the aging process is affecting me.
Second, popular real estate blog SocketSite has been going big with their coverage of the New Mission Theater/Alamo Drafthouse project lately. I don't know a whole lot about Alamo Drafthouse, other than the beer and movies thing and being down with both of those, so this comment on SocketSite from veteran Mission-come-Austin resident Bob has me even more pysched than I was already:
This is terrific news. Nobody should worry and fear the word multiplex. I've lived in the Mission for 29 years, BUT I have had to live/work in Austin on and off for the past two years. I hate Austin, frankly, and miss the Mish, but the one bright point has been that Austin is a killer film town. Mostly due to the Alamo Drafthouse…
The Austin theaters really do cinema very well. The Alamo Drafthouse is a great place to watch films. Great bar, great food, you can relax and watch the film, eat, get waited on, and they take cinema seriously. They show great old classics, plus all the best independents.This is a dream come true for that theater on Mission, and for Mission Street, which keeps getting better and better. Folks in our area have been dreaming to rescue that place for years. The Sundance Cinema tried to do something like this business model over at the Kabuki, but the results haven't been as great. They don't have good taste. The Alamo people have good taste.
Bob goes on to talk about gentrification and the neighborhood being too expensive for college grads, concluding we're better off despite all that. But who cares about all that activisty rigmarole right now—The Alamo people have good taste.
(And now that I've admitted the aging process is affecting me, I'm going to go listen to that Hey Ya! song or something.)
Fox News's highbrow print edition takes a look at what we can expect:
Under the current plans, the main three-tiered auditorium will be kept partially intact as the biggest venue with 348 seats. The theater's two upper balconies will be turned into four smaller theaters, with an extension added to the main balcony suspended over the auditorium. The five-screen venue will have a total of 556 seats, with some of the smaller venues seating 36 to 46 people, according to the plans filed with the city.
“Restoring it to its original glory is ideal, but then you're left with an 1,800-seat, single-screen movie theater,” [Tim League, founder of Alamo Drafthouse] says. “It doesn't work.”
…One area at risk is the original brick building, later turned into the lobby. Its walls were once graced with silver-leaf murals from the 1932 remodeling, but some may be lost when this area is seismically reinforced and reconstructed. Alamo plans to try to salvage some of the Deco murals.
Sadly, Alamo has to wait until Dec. 5th for a Historic Preservation Commission meeting before they can get the project rolling (and even then, cranky neighbors can further delay things), so the soonest we'll be seeing the theater open is December 2013. But still, beer and movies!
Sadly, we were unable to attend yesterday's community meeting about the plans to convert New Mission Theater into a boozy, 5-screen/900-seat Alamo Drafthouse. However, the Mission Local folks made it over there and took a bunch of photos of all the beautiful graffiti inside the joint (just look at that bird and tree!), which is pretty much the only thing we were interested in checking out in the first place. Do take a further look.
There's some community meeting about Alamo Drafthouse's plans for the New Mission Theater going on in two weeks, and it's going on inside the theater (which means you'll be able to sneak off and explore the place while feasting on some local concessions). Mark your calendars.