5400 Geary Boulevard,
18 people favorited this theater
Previously operated by: San Francisco Theaters Ltd., United Artists Theater Circuit Inc.
Architects: James Reid, Merritt Reid
Firms: Reid Brothers
News About This Theater
- Mar 17, 2013 — “South Pacific” 55th Anniversary – The Roadshow Engagements
- Oct 24, 2010 — "The Alamo"...Happy 50th!
- Mar 22, 2010 — Stalled renovation plans, lax building code enforcement allowing Alexandria Theatre to decay
- Mar 19, 2004 — Balboa's Birthday Bash Was a Blast!
- Feb 16, 2004 — CONFIRMED: Alexandria to Close After 4:15pm Show
- Feb 14, 2004 — BREAKING NEWS: Alexandria to Close Monday?
The Alexandria Theatre opened on November 26, 1923 with Douglas MacLean in “Going Up.” It was built at a cost of $350,000 by Oppenheimer & (Alex) Levin; Reid Brothers were the architects. From the beginning, it was one of the Richmond district’s leading second-run theaters.
In 1941, it underwent extensive remodeling, emerging totally Moderne, with only the original stone pillars on its corner facade still exhibiting evidence of its original Egyptian roots.
It re-opened on June 19, 1942, but due to wartime blackout restrictions, much of its new neon elegance had to be subdued until sometime later. In the late-1950’s it was upgraded to a first run 70MM, reserved seat policy premiering such roadshow attractions as “South Pacific” (48 weeks), “Exodus” (20 weeks), “Can Can” (19 weeks), El Cid (21 weeks), “The Longest Day” (19 weeks), “Cleopatra” (56 weeks) & “Oliver!” (43 weeks).
On November 24, 1976, it re-opened as Alexandria 3, with the former balcony and loge sections converted into two separate, smaller auditoriums, but with the original downstairs section more or less intact.
Beneath the remodelling, rumor has it that the original dome and atmospheric ceiling still exists, retaining it’s twinkling lights, or at least the sockets, and that behind the bland walls of the lobby one can still see lotus-topped columns and colorful hieroglyphics.
The theater closed in the beginning of 2004 and its future is uncertain.
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Recent comments (view all 104 comments)
Boxoffice of June 9, 1958, reported that renovations at the Alexandria Theatre, including the installation of the Todd-AO screen and projection equipment for the upcoming road show run of South Pacific, had reduced the seating capacity of the house to 1,250.
SO – judging from recent street photos the building still stands. Hmmm…
Apparently it’s a new aquatic center for the Alexandria Condominiums that were either just opened or are about to. http://thealexandriasf.com/
Sorry I was incorrect on one point, its for the public, not just the condos. Kind of a strange pairing – swimming pool in the middle of an old theatre – but at least they didn’t tear it down and it will have new life!
OMG. Certain architectural features inside would remain. Not sure what is meant by 1976 marquee that will be removed.
From the above linked 2016 RichmondSFBlog article it sounds like the box office, marquee and blade will all be retained. The “1976 marquee” referred I believe is the “1-2-3” on each side of the blade tower that was added in 1976 when the theatre was triplexed. Nice that they will retain the upper portions of the side walls for the 3rd floor offices.
From the SF Planning Dept. website: Received Date: Oct 03, 2017 Description: 5400 Geary Ave – REPAIR MARQUEE AND SIGN ELEMENTS: REPLACE SOFFIT AND LIGHTING, REPAIR & REPAINT MARQUEE, REPLACE NEON, REPAIR BLADE SIGN, REPLACE NEON, REPAIR “PARKING” SIGN, REPLACE NEON
From Frank Dunnigan’s Feb 2018 article on SF Theaters that appeared on outsidelands.org:
Today, on the SF Gate website, has an article with pictures of the vertical being removed for safety reasons, as it was unsecured and swaying in the wind.
Here’s the link , which includes photos
Here is a direct link to the SFGate article with photos in case the Chronicle’s link stops at their paywall. The recent onslaught of storms with heavy rain and high winds caused a lot of damage in the city and beyond.