Bal Theater in San Leandro to open a new chapter in its history

posted by CSWalczak on October 28, 2009 at 4:50 am

SAN LEANDRO, CA — He has wanted to own a theater since he was a teenager, and now he does. Entrepreneur Dan Dillman has acquired the 800-seat Bal Theater, originally opened in 1946. At first, he plans to show locally made documentaries and eventually feature concert performances.

Two years later Dillman got married, moved to an apartment on 150th Street in San Leandro, and discovered a new venue to fetishize — the Bal Theatre on East 14th Street, “I was sitting across the street at McDonald’s, going ‘Wow, look at that theater right there,’” Dillman remembered. “And then I kinda had the itch for this one, too.”

The opportunity finally came a couple years ago, in the form of another for-sale sign. “I began praying over the building,” said Dillman. “We called the Realtor. They wanted a ridiculous amount of money. … A few times I called, the building was in escrow.” Dillman’s luck turned when the city recouped the Bal from a developer who wanted to use it for other purposes than as a theater. “They wanted to either tear it down or do some kind of retail stuff, and I guess that wasn’t in the plan of the city,” said Dillman. “The time came, I made the offer, and they accepted the offer.”

More about the theater’s history and Dillman in the East Bay Express.

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