The Castro Theatre is now set to temporarily close for an approximately 18-month renovation on February 4, one day after its final show on February 3.
The much-needed renovations will begin almost two years to the day after Another Planet Entertainment (APE) took over the programming of the historic Castro Theatre. Theatre ownership remains with the Nasser family and Bay Properties Inc.
Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
“Another Planet Entertainment is thrilled to begin the work to restore the Castro Theatre to its 1922 architectural glory and ensure its continued place in the hearts of film lovers, music lovers, and the LGBTQ+ community,” said Mary Conde, APE's senior vice president.
APE spokesperson David Perry tells Hoodline that a final event is planned for February 4. "The final show will be a celebratory evening highlighting the Castro community and the LGBTQ+ community.
APE won approval for its plans from the SF Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission in June. In October, the Board of Supervisors approved the last remaining hurdle, which was a permit for nighttime entertainment on the second floor.
The Castro Theatre's orchestra-level seating will be removed. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
APE's planned renovations include removing the orchestra-level seating and replacing them with four-tiered sections of platforms with removable seats on a motorized raked floor.
"For cinematic screenings, row-by-row adjustable platforms will allow for improved film sight lines that duplicate the theater's original raked floor," said Perry.
Additional renovations include restoring the blade, removing the lobby-area concession stand, expanding the women's restroom, improving the ventilation and electrical systems, adding a ground-floor dressing room, and restoring the ceiling.
Perry estimated the total cost of renovations will be "at least $15 million." "There's no way to fully estimate the costs."
“In addition to restoring the magnificence of Timothy Pflueger’s original design, the Castro Theatre will now be more ADA accessible in the audience, onstage and backstage to all," said Conde. "Additionally, a state-of-the art heating and air conditioning system will be installed, providing comfort and healthful ventilation."
The latest rendering of the proposed standing-room floor plan. | Image: Castro Theatre
The latest rendering of the proposed seating floor plan. | Image: Castro Theatre
"Finally, improved concessions, an expanded lobby, the restoration of the original proscenium arch, and new, comfortable, and flexible seating will make the Castro a venue that respects its heritage while embracing new, and ever more diverse audiences," added Conde.
Ceiling restoration work will be overseen by Evergreene Architectural Arts. "One of the defining features of the Castro is the tent-like painted ceiling which has been obscured from view for decades," said Evergreene founder and executive chairman Jeff Greene.
The ceiling restoration work itself is anticipated to take six months. "This element will be conserved and restored along with the unique sgraffito murals on the side walls bring the whole back into harmony with Pflueger’s original vision," added Greene.
Ceiling restoration work will be completed by Evergreene. | Photo: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
“I and everyone at Another Planet love the Castro Theatre and the Castro neighborhood," APE CEO and co-founder Gregg Perloff previously told Hoodline. "Our commitment to and celebration of the LGBTQ communities is long-term and unshakable, especially in a time when these communities are under attack. This project is a labor of love for us, and we will make everyone proud to be part of it."