San Franciso's New Mission Theater at 2550 Mission Sreet is an irreplaceable civic asset, a neighborhood landmark in the Mission, and a reminder of the many movie theaters that once operated on Mission Street. Architecturally, the New Mission Theater is a magnificent work, the equal of the universally beloved Castro Theater in terms of the lavishness of the interior detail in the auditorium. Timothy Pflueger's Art Deco outer lobby is striking, and the "fin" sign a beautiful and rare example for its period. The reuse and reopening of the New Mission Theater is not only a boon to the Mission District, but a benefit for all San Franciscans.
Final building permits approved, Alamo Drafthouse now moves forward with its plans to reopen the historic New Mission Theater as the Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission in 2015. Per a July 3 update from Alamo's Founder and CEO Tim League:
"The Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission will have five screens and feature new release movies, independent and classic films and special events. The Alamo Drafthouse at the New Mission will be equipped with Sony 4k Digital, RealD 3D and changeover 35mm projection. In addition to the movies, the Alamo features made-from-scratch food delivered to your seat, a great selection of local beer and wine and craft cocktails."
In addition to 35mm changeover projection, the announcement of Sony 4K Digital capability is indeed a welcome one for cinephiles. With these upgrades, the restored theater is certain to become a unique Bay Area venue with a bright future.
Alamo Drafthouse's Facebook page will have ongoing blog updates and photo coverage of the transformation in progress. In the meantime, Tim League invites San Francisco moviegoers to join their Victory loyalty program for updates on forthcoming construction news, and to be included in the theater's 2015 grand opening celebration.
2013 / 2012 DEVELOPMENTS
SF Gate reported on January10, 2013 that the San Francisco Planning Commission gave final approval to the $10 million renovation of the 1916 theater at 2554 Mission St. Also approved was construction of a 114-unit condominium development next door—to become the second tallest building in the Mission District at 85 feet. Theater plans include a 348-seat theater and four smaller screening rooms, as well as a full restaurant and bar. According to Philip Lesser quoted here on Mission Local, landlord and business consultant, "This is far and away the most impactful project that the Mission has seen in decades."
On February 15, 2012, Texas-based Alamo Drafthouse met with San Francisco's Architectural Planning Committee to present their proposal to convert San Franciso's landmark New Mission Theater into a five-screen multiplex entertainment complex that includes a bar replacing the first floor's projection booth. Alamo Drafthouse is in contract with Gus Murad and Associates to purchase the theater. Both the New Mission and the adjacent Giant Value store went up for sale in 2011. Alamo's founder, Tim League, describes the plan envisioned in his 2/16/12 Alamo blog post:
"Even though our plan is to subdivide the balconies into small boutique theaters, we will be doing it in such a way as to preserve nearly all of the amazing architectural details of the space. We would still preserve the massive downstairs screen and transform that space into a potential premiere venue with state of the art sound and picture. We have been working hand-in-hand with the both historic and neighborhood groups to make sure that our restoration plans meet with their approval. The great news is that the theater interior is largely in good shape. A large percentage of the interior details have been preserved and even most of the light fixtures are intact."
NOTE: The pictures below show the building as it appeared on the day of the Landmarks Board hearing on October 11, 2006. The graffiti on display was the result of a rave event held in April 2006. To view photos from 2001 during the Evermax Furniture Occupation, go here.