Preservationists win partial victory in battle to save Metro Theater

posted by CSWalczak on July 3, 2009 at 7:45 am

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — According to this article, the developer who wants to repurpose the Metro Theater on Union Street has agreed to preserve at least some of the historic interior:

The deadlock between historic preservationists and developers who want to renovate the old Metro movie theater on Union Street loosened Monday when both sides agreed to compromise.

The Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee supported landmark status for the exterior of the 1924 theater, and the developer extended a commitment to preserve some of the historic features inside, including a series of Heinsbergen murals, Ionic columns, grills and urns on the stage.

Read the full story in the San Francisco Chronicle.

Theaters in this post

Comments (5)

HowardBHaas on July 3, 2009 at 9:29 am

this is a step in the right direction.

GaryParks on July 3, 2009 at 11:17 pm

I am glad to hear that not only does the interior preservation plan include the 1941 Heinsbergen murals, but the Ionic columns, (organ) grilles, urns (and eagles clutching shields, I might add!) which are hidden behing the plain draped walls on either side of the stage/screen. For those who have not seen them, they are a very well preserved and dramatic remnant of the original 1924 interior, and bear considerable resemblance to the type of ornament inside the Castro, in both form and coloration.

HowardBHaas on July 4, 2009 at 6:10 am

Indeed, thanks to Gary for providing photos of those columns that he speaks of:
View link

philbertgray on July 4, 2009 at 9:53 am

Save a portion of the auditorium? This is like saving a portion of the Mona Lisa. San Francisco is proving once again that it places no value on the history of this once unique city. The so called preservation law is laughable. In essence it states a building’s facade may be considered historical but the interior has no value. At this rate San Francisco will look more like Los Angeles than Los Angeles before long. At the very least this is a shameful decision by a group of merchants on pissy Union Street who value nothing more than the almighty dollar. Shame on them as well as the nutless board of supervisors who let commerce slash through and destroy what few remnants of the past remain.

HowardBHaas on July 4, 2009 at 2:12 pm

Hmmm, speaking from Philadelphia, which hasn’t restored & reopened even ONE movie palace- and we are trying (I’ve been the volunteer leading since 2002)…

fortunately, S.F. has saved about 3 downtown movie palaces + the Castro.
L.A. has quite a few movie palaces downtown on Broadway & elsewhere.

Every theater isn’t going to reopen as a theater. I’d agree it would be lovely if the Metro did, but that might not happen.

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