City Council to vote on new C Street high-rise to replace California Theatre

Posted at 10:49 AM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-04 13:56:33-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - The San Diego City Council will vote Tuesday on a plan to replace the California Theatre with a new mixed-use, 40-story high-rise.

The plan is called "Overture San Diego," and it was proposed by Martinez and Cutri Corporation as the lead architects.

Their website,, says the structure can be the centerpiece of a revitalized C Street corridor.

However, opponents say the plans don't do enough to honor the original building.

"The loss of this would be a major loss for the city of San Diego, culturally, historically and architecturally," said Bruce Coons with the Save Our Heritage Organisation, which is against the project.

The California Theatre was built in 1927 and is eligible to be on the National Register of Historic Places, even though it hasn't been added. The building was a six-story movie theater that was once the center of San Diego's movie culture, and it also hosted concerts.

The building closed in 1990, and it has fallen into disrepair.

Coons said anything built in its place needs to honor the original Spanish-style architecture.

Plans for the new building show a similar facade that would be built new. It also includes a vertical blade sign reading "California" built to look like the lights from the old marquee.

Coons said that doesn't go far enough.

"They're proposing to sort of replicate the façade, but not accurately," he said. "It would be just a facade for the parking garage, looking like a bombed ruin with the parking garage behind it with no windows, just screens for the parking garage."

The Overture website says it's supported by the San Diego Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown San Diego Partnership.

The building will have almost 300 residential units, as well as restaurants and shopping.