Back in February, news that the American Conservatory Theater would be investing in the Strand Theater renewed our hopes for the troubled stretch of mid-Market. Today, courtesy of the Planning Department, we get a first look at renderings of the new theater space.
The building has some history behind it. Built in 1917 as a movie theater, it was all flashy neon through the 40s, and apparently people used to think "The Great White Way" was a cool thing to call Market Street for some reason. Sadly, it last saw action as a porn theater in 2006.
As expected, the theater will seat 299, making it a much smaller space than the company's 1,000-seat theater on Geary Street and a great place to stage edgier works. A.C.T. will also keep and renovate the costume shop and secondary black box space down the block.
As for that stretch of mid-Market, it could desperately use something to break up that awkward block at night. (Don't try to use the bathroom in the Carl's Jr. across the street. It's a nightmare.) The proposal includes a cafe in the lobby which, ABC Licenses willing, appears to be pouring wine.
The Planning Commission will vote on the proposed designs today, so nothing's set in stone yet. Curbed reports they're already on board, and anyway, the proposal documents do contain about a dozen letters of support from local high school drama kids, and you'd have to be a pretty cold soul to oppose high school drama kids.