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Santee Drive-In set to close in January 2024, property to be sold to developer

Posted at 2:12 PM, Sep 06, 2023

SANTEE, Calif. (KGTV) – The Santee Drive-In, one of San Diego County’s last drive-in movie theaters, will be closing for good.

Last week, the Forte family -- who has owned the theater since 1958 -- announced in a news release that the theater/swap meet on 10990 Woodside Ave. North is shutting down in January 2024 because running the establishment is “no longer economically viable.”

“We have worked diligently to sustain the business over many years, but the drive-in theatre is no longer economically viable. We are facing a loss of customers, higher costs, equipment obsolescence, competition from streaming services, and the inability to show some of the newly released films. Like movie theatres across the country, we can’t afford to stay open,” said Susan Boyd, a member of the Forte family.

Boyd added, “We are sad to be shutting down the theatre. We thank the Santee community for their many years of support and humbly ask for their understanding of our family’s decision to close the theatre. We will continue to operate the theatre and swap meet through the end of the year.”

The family will be selling the property to Los Angeles-based real estate development company North Palisade Partners, with the sale “expected to occur in 2024.”

According to the news release, North Palisade Partners plans to build “a state-of-the-art building that will serve to attract new businesses to East County San Diego.”

“We currently own and operate two properties in the San Diego region and are big believers in Santee and East County. We are looking to reimagine this property and build on the legacy of the Forte Family. We want to invest in this community and build a project that attracts companies that will bring local jobs,” North Palisade Partners founder Joe Mishurda.