Theatre Del Mar Redesign and Reuse
The information provided on this page is for archival purposes and is not current.
The Theatre Del Mar Project is now complete...please patronize the theater and enjoy the many cinema and community events that will be held there for years to come.
OtherSites of Interest:
"The art deco community believes it very fortunate that this classic deco theater was saved after the Loma Prieta earthquake. The purchase and restoration of the interior and exterior to its former splendor is a credit to the foresight of the people of Santa Cruz."
--Art Deco Society of California
Local nonprofit and community organizations interested in using the Del Mar for film or lecture series, please contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (831) 420-5270.
Project Update 02/08/02
As of February 8, 2002, the theatre has been open for business and has contributed to exciting changes to the south area of Pacific Avenue. The landmark sign and marquee light up the street, and the facility brings hundreds of movie-goers downtown each day.
The Grand Opening Gala was held Saturday March 2, 2002, and featured a screening of the film China Clipper, the first film shown at the theatre in 1936. The film's lead actress, Beverly Roberts, was on hand for the festivities.
This marks the culmination of years of effort on the part of all parties involved. The Redevelopment Agency would like to express its sincere thanks to everybody who helped make this project a success. Particular gratitude is due to the following people:
- Santa Cruz City Council; Council Member Keith Sugar; Ceil Cirillo, Executive Director; Darrell Doan, Project Coordinator
- George Ow Jr.; Jesse Nickel, Barry Swenson Builder; Molly Morris, Construction Manager, Jennifer Crosby, Barry Swenson Builder
- Chuck Volwiler, The Nickelodeon; Jim Schwenterly, The Nickelodeon
- Arnie Lerner, Project Architect
- Friends of the Del Mar; City of Santa Cruz Historical Preservation Del Mar Subcommittee
- A special thanks to all those persons who made this project a reality.
Redevelopment In Action
The historic Del Mar Theatre sits along Santa Cruz's Pacific Avenue in the Downtown Central Business District. For several years the theatre had gone unused and was been in a blighted condition. The Agency, the City and several community oriented businesses have recognized for some years the potential that the Del Mar represents and the positive impact upon Santa Cruz that its refurbishment and reuse facilitates.
The Redevelopment Agency, a local developer partnership, the Nickelodeon Theatres, Inc., and the community made its redesign and reopening a priority. The redesign and reuse of the theatre is an example of Redevelopment in action for the betterment of the community.
"The theatre space will periodically be used to house community film series and lectures."
The reuse of the historic structure ensures the long-term utilization of the building as an art-house movie theatre and a community performance theatre for lectures, film festivals, and other community uses.
The Agency acquired the theatre in June 2001 from United Artist Theatre Group. The Redevelopment Agency negotiated a long term lease to a local partnership consisting of George Ow and Barry Swenson Builder, both longtime residents of the area who took on the project as a service for the community as a way to give back to Santa Cruz. The Swenson/Ow Partnership then subleased the theatre to the owners of the popular art cinema house, the Nickelodeon Theatre - currently located on Lincoln Street, Downtown. The Redevelopment Agency, Swenson/Ow and Nickelodeon each shared in the responsibilities and costs of remodeling the old theatre.
Lerner & Associates of San Francisco provided the architectural rehabilitation services for the restoration.
The Agency installed a new ADA-compliant three-stop elevator connecting the lobby with the mezzanine and upper floor theatres, a new historic ticket booth, new fire sprinklers and fire alarm systems, upgraded plumbing and ADA-compliant restroom. Swenson/Ow and the Nickelodean have installed the upgrading of the HVAC systems, installation of new seating and screens, combined the two lower theatres into one 500-seat theatre, rehabilitated the exiting light system and marquee, an upgraded sound system, and new carpeting, paint, draperies, and signage.
"This is truly a public/private partnership."
Every effort has been made to retain the essential historical characteristics of the charming old theatre. The new design was approved by the City's Historical Commission, and the Agency worked in close contact with the Del Mar Historical Commission Subcommittee.