Demolition of historic California Theatre would violate environmental law, court rules

Posted at 12:41 PM, Mar 05, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-05 15:51:11-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A San Diego judge has ruled that demolition of the historic California Theatre would violate environmental law.

The theatre, which was built in 1926, was the largest vaudeville and movie palace in San Diego.

City Council approved the demolition of the theatre in 2017. The proposed demolition, however, required an environmental impact report.

RELATED: San Diego approves replacement for dilapidated California Theatre

The legal challenge to the approval, filed by the Save Our Heritage Organization, said the city failed to adequately address the ability to adapt and reuse the California Theatre.

The court granted SOHO’s legal petition because the review failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act.

The demolition approved by the city would have allowed a 40-story skyscraper to be built that would have included 282 residential units.

"The California Theatre is an outstanding historic building that has been standing for almost 100 years, it presents many opportunities for successful adaptive reuse to revitalize the C Street corridor. When the City's EIR failed to study alternatives to demolition, we put our faith in the Court to enforce CEQA. We are grateful for the Court's comprehensive enforcement of environmental law and look forward to review of an alternative in an EIR that will allow this historic building to survive as part of a successful new project. We know it can be done,” said SOHO’s Executive Director, Bruce Coons.