SAN DIEGO, CA -- There is good news and bad news concerning attempts to restore two of San Diego's historic theatres.
The good news first. The new owners of the 1750-seat California Theatre, which has been shuttered for the past several years, have announced plans to reopen it. The Rev. Jerry and Yvonne Hanoum, who head the San Diego Christian Center in National City, purchased the theatre for $300,000 in 1997 and plan to produce musical shows and family dramas there.
The Hanoums appear week nights on a show called Vision, which is broadcast on Cox Cable at 10 PM. A recent show was broadcast from the theatre where they sat on stage and talked about their plans, which include computerized imagery, dancing waters, light shows and video screens to enhance viewing of "good wholesome entertainment."
Built in 1927, the California Theatre is located at 4th and C Streets in downtown San Diego.
The bad news concerns another downtown theatre, the Balboa. Horton Plaza's short-lived proposal to restore and operate the Balboa by owners TrizecHahn has been taken off the table. The acquisition of the company's shopping center properties, including Horton Plaza, by Westfield America Inc. forced TrizecHahn to withdraw at this time.
Instead requests for proposals are expected to soon go out from the City's redevelopment agency seeking "to rehabilitate and achieve the highest and best use of the theatre."
Recently the 74th anniversary of the Balboa Theatre was celebrated with a live show, the musical revue Closer Than Ever. Proceeds went to the Balboa Theatre Foundation, whose mission is to preserve the site for future live performances.
-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent