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The Village, a club and entertainment venue


The Village is now The City's largest extended night-into-tthe-morning-hours Club and Entertainment venue.The two story bulding interior renovation is completed


To the left is the cleared site of what could be Market Street Place, a giant mall. To the right is The Wilson Building, a landmark Terra Cotta faced office building which has been converted to rental apartments.

Market Street theaters

There are six, maybe seven, theaters extending from Fifth to Eighth Streets on Central Market St.


All but one were forced by BARTin the 1950s to remove their marquees to facilitate the construction of the tunnel  for Muni and BART tracks.


The Golden Gate Theater was permitted to retain the marquee and large sign, because it does not touch Market St  (The sign no longer lights up.)

The United Artists - Imperial - Market St Cinema Theater



A city official states that The Market St Cinema will not be used for porno in the future.


Meanwhile, The Central Market CBD is sponsoring a program to help to pay for decorating the blank fronts of empty stores.

The Imperial Theater was toured by Anthony King of observesf.com and Joe Landini of The Garage space for arts and Central Market Arts on June 29, 2010. It currently operates as The Market Street Cinema, a porno business at 1077 Market St. The facade shown in the picture has been mostly covered with a peeling paint plywood cover.

The mezzanine remains intact --- it is built of solid concrete. It has access to the lobby and with a new stage, could serve as a 300 seat theater. The former orchestra section (now demolished) could hold three or four “black box” theaters of 100 to 200 capacity each. Above this would be the stage for the larger theater, connecting to the seating in the former mezzanine.

The building custodian says he believes it was built in 1906. No original details remain within. Some art deco details are present in the lobby. There are fantastical exterior details behind a false front, as the 1919 photo below shows. These are worthy of restoration.





A block east of the now gone Embassy and the Strand, the United Artists Theater still exists. The giant sign which can be seen in the

distance is now gone. The theater is now unused

It was called the Imperial Theater in 1919

The actual theater can be seen peeking over the plywood front.

The statue and cornice (painted red) of the original break through the middle.

The Strand and Embassy Theaters

A. C. T. (American Conservatory Theater) has purchased The Strand Theater at 1127 Market Street. To the east is a vacant lot.. This was the site of the Embassy Theater. Next to that, A. C. T. has offices in an four story building at 1119 and a black box theater, The Costume Shop, on the first floor, which opened in September 2012.

The Embassy Theater (seen in 1988 ... with The Trinity office building under construction, just beyond the Strand,) no longer exists, but it could again enhance the theaters on the block between Seventh and Eighth, in a new way.


The now vacant lot lies between the A. C. T. studio theater - at the left in the picture above - (which is rented by ACT) and the Strand - to the right -  (which is owned by A.C T).


A  previous owner of the vacant lot considered using an old plan for a 12 story apartment building.


1. An arts center could be contained on the lower floors of a new mixed use building. The developer could sell this portion as a condo to a non-profit group.


2. The City, the lot owner and A. C. T. could work together to allow an additional 4 stories of Art Space in the base of the building.


3. A. C. T. could sell air rights created abbove the Strand to the owner of this now-hole-in-the-ground to benefit both parties, allowing the new building to have windows on three sides.



The preliminary plan

The unique features of the Strand are the narrow windows.


Ghost theaters

Now The Crazy Horse, 300 seat movie house.

976 Market, part of The Crazy Horse

To the right of The Crazy Horse was/is?  another theater, in the building with the red sign

Finally, back again to The Embassy, with the Strand at the right, between Seventh and Eight Streets.

More theater news HERE.

Return to the The Proposed Central Market Art Zoning Plan HERE.