Grand Theatre Center for the Arts

715 N. Central Avenue,
Tracy, CA 95376

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Related Websites

Grand Theatre Center for the Arts (Official)

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Principal Theaters Corp. of America

Architects: Alexander Aimwell Cantin, Albert W. Cornelius

Firms: ELS Architects

Functions: Concerts, Live Performances, Live Theater, Movies

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Grand Theatre

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 209.831.6858

Nearby Theaters

Grand at Dusk

The Grand Theatre opened in 1923 and was designed by architect Albert W. Cornelius. Its tower and marquee, designed by architect Alexander Aimwell Canton, were added in 1939.

The theatre was renovated to the plans of architectural firm ELS Architects to become a performing arts center for the city of Tracy, re-opening on September 15, 2007. It now contains a 560 seat theatre which is equipped for film presentations as well as live performances, and a 120 seat, studio theatre. The Grand Theatre Center for the Arts now forms part of a six venue arts facility for the town.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Ross Melnick
Ross Melnick on September 18, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Here is a recent article about the theater from the Tri-Valley Herald: View link

kencmcintyre on February 23, 2008 at 2:20 am

Here is an October 2007 press release from the firm that managed the renovation:

GaryParks on April 3, 2011 at 4:32 am

While Cantin (that’s the correct spelling) did the remodel, the original 1920s design was by A. W. Cornelius. Other Bay Area theatres by him include the Strand (Elmwood) and T&D (California) in Berkeley, the T&D (Fox, UA) in Richmond, the California in Pittsburg, and the T&D (Fox California) in Salinas.

GaryParks on October 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Adding one more theatre to the record of those by A. W. Cornelius: The “old” Merced in Merced (not to be confused with the present one with its signature tower). The “old” Merced had a facade almost identical to that of the California in Pittsburg. It was long ago remodeled to a Moderne look, which it still has today. It was later known by such names as Strand, Cinema III, and at this time is called the Mainzer.

williamw on March 9, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Greetings All!

I’m the Arts Program Manager of Visual Arts at the Grand. There are a few errors on the page that I’d like to correct. The address is 715 Central Avenue. The facility is not a only “performing arts center,” but the only municipal interdisciplinary art center of its kind in the state of California. It’s even rare in larger perspective as we are part of an ongoing national arts redevelopment research project.

In short, the Center offers professional and community-based dance, drama, music and visual arts across a 37,000+ sq.‘ center comprised of six buildings; five of which are interconnected including the Grand Theatre. The six is independent as the Old Town Hall & Jail from 1900, documented on the National Historic Register. The Center includes 2 theatres, 3 art galleries and 8 studio classroom studios for arts education. The theatres host performances and events of all kinds including concerts, off-broadway, comedy, magic and movies… we recent presented The Rocky Horror Picture Show for the first time to great avail. :)

It’s also worth noting the Grand utilizes a fully automated – computed controlled Vortec rigging system.

We are looking forward to hosting a visit on the tour and are most grateful to Gary and anyone that can help us fill in details of the Grand’s history. This year we are planning on developing an historic display in the main lobby including artifacts and project history.

  • thanks, William
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 10:25 pm

A few 2011 photos can be seen here and here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 6, 2013 at 7:25 pm

Photos of the Grand Theatre Center, including some shots of the renovated auditorium, run as a slide show on this page at the web site of ELS Architecture and Urban Design, the firm that designed the renovation. Kurt Schindler was the principal architect of the project.

The Grand Theatre now seats 560, and features continental seating on the main floor. Other restoration and adaptive reuse projects designed by ELS include the California Theatre in San Jose, the Fox Theatre in Oakland, and the former Portland Theatre, now Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, in Portland, Oregon.

rivest266 on June 26, 2022 at 5:54 pm

This opened on August 11th, 1923, and closed as a full-time cinema in 1973. Grand opening ad posted.

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