Plans to purchase and restore the Park Theater fall through

posted by philbertgray on November 21, 2007 at 10:54 am

MENLO PARK, CA — After a year of negotiations, the Menlo Park City Council subcommittee has rejected an unpopular plan to buy and renovate the Park Theater with city money, a move that sends a would-be restorer back to the drawing board and leaves the fate of the 60-year-old landmark in question.

The Guild is the only remaining operating theater on the historic 47 mile section of El Camino Real Drive between San Francisco and San Jose. At one time there were twenty plus theaters along the scenic drive either on El Camino or within a block or two of the drive. The other theaters have either been converted to other uses or demolished.

The owner originally sought to replace the theater with office and retail space. He may return to this plan if a buyer cannot be found to pay the $1.4 million purchase price of the theater.

An article on Menlo Park City Council’s vote to not purchase the threatened theater with city funds can be found in the Palo Alto Daily News.

Theaters in this post

Comments (2)

scottfavareille on November 21, 2007 at 11:21 am

It would truly be a shame to see this theater lost.

GaryParks on November 22, 2007 at 1:58 am

I remember driving up a long stretch of El Camino for the first time on a Summer evening in 1985. It was like a candy store of neon-bedecked theatres. I knew about the ones in Palo Alto then, but as I drove North, would see for the first time:
GUILD and PARK, Menlo Park
FOX, Redwood City (not on El Camino, but I looked for it)
LAUREL, San Carlos (dark, having recently closed forever)
BELMONT, Belmont
PALM, San Mateo
In future years I would attend the Guild and Park numerous times, have now been to concerts at the Fox, would never step inside the Laurel, would attend the Belmont once, would consider stepping inside the Palm, but then reconsider, not wanting to deal with other patrons, and would later discover the Millbrae in time to attend once before its gutting.
Though most of the theatres are gone or converted to other uses, driving up El Camino is still a treat for fans of roadside commercial architecture and signage from the middle third of the 20th Century. Much has been demolished or gentrified beyond recognition since I first drove the road in ‘85, but a number of visual treats still remain.
Yes, now it’s just the tiny Guild.

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