Almanac

News - April 28, 2010

Office space may be next plan for Park Theatre

by Sean Howell

The Park Theater in Menlo Park has been vacant for going on eight years, but owner Howard Crittenden hasn't stopped looking for new tenants.

At the April 20 City Council meeting, Mr. Crittenden spoke to keep the council in the loop on his latest attempt to find a new use for the building, saying he has spent about a year developing a plan to convert the theater to a commercial use.

The planning firm working for Mr. Crittenden has told him that converting the theater to office space would be a better investment than making way for a retail tenant, but that even then the deal probably would not be profitable to an investor after the economy recovers, Mr. Crittenden said. He said he plans to test that assessment by presenting the plans to commercial real estate brokers.

"At this moment I don't have an answer" on whether the plan would work, he said. "Hopefully soon I will."

Mr. Crittenden said he believed the plans would maintain the building's character and would not trigger a historical assessment under state law.

The theater, on El Camino Real between Valparaiso and Oak Grove avenues, has been empty since Mr. Crittenden evicted Landmark Theatres in 2002, saying the company was unable to pay the "market rent." Finding a new tenant has been an ongoing concern for both Mr. Crittenden and the city, with council members generally unwilling to commit public funds to the site.

A proposal for the city to subsidize restoring the theater to a movie-house operation didn't work out. Neither did a proposal for the city to subsidize the operation of a dance studio. At one point Mr. Crittenden applied for a demolition permit, but withdrew it shortly thereafter, according to Community Development Director Arlinda Heineck.

Comments

There are no comments yet for this post

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Choose a category: *

Since this is the first comment on this story a new topic will also be started in Town Square! Please choose a category that best describes this story.

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields