The city is considering renovating the historic Alameda theater in downtown Alameda. As with every story, there are two sides to this debate as well. On the one hand, there are the “preservationists” who argue that the scope of the renovation is completely out of whack and the resulting “megaplex” completely disregards Alameda’s architectural traditions. The “pro-growth” camp argues that the “theater” is precisely what is needed to revitalize downtown Alameda.
Here’s an interesting factiod about Alameda: there is just one theater (Central Cinema, a single screen theater that seats 40) in all of Alameda (population 75,000)! Our options are therefore to drive to either Emeryville, Berkeley or Oakland. Personally, I would rather spend my money in Alameda; but the opportunities to do so are somewhat limited, thus depriving the city of valuable tax dollars.
I would really like to see the Alameda Theater be renovated. Perhaps this might spur the development of Park Street and bring in the much needed foot traffic. But I am not thrilled with the proposed design for the parking garage and additional screens. I have to admit, it is a huge concrete box devoid of any character and the sheer size dwarfs the adjacent buildings. It almost looks like Emeryville’s Bay Street!
Here’s an alternative that looks more appealing: