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Redevelopment of landmark Berkeley theater proceeds

The famous marquee of Berkeley's California Theater
Tracy Wong
Flickr / Creative Commons
The famous marquee of Berkeley's California Theater

The council approval is viewed as a major step in the construction of a new 18-story apartment building, which will retain the landmark theater’s 110-year old facade.

Berkeleyside reportsthe council struck down an appeal against an order to demolish and develop the site.The Rhode Island-based Gilbane Development has proposed building 211 two- and four-bedroom residential apartments. Eleven apartments will be set aside for low-income tenants.

The new building will also include a 24,200-foot performance space at the Ketteridge Street site.The California closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its owner, Landmark Theaters, announced in 2021 that it would not re-open. It was one of about 2,000 movie houses shuttered nationwide as a result of the pandemic.

The Shattuck Cinema closed the following year and the UA Regal announced last year that it was closing. The Regal site is slated for an apartment redevelopment similar to The California.

Rialto Cinemas Elmwood is now the last commercial theater still operating in Berkeley.

Sunni M. Khalid is a veteran of more than 40 years in journalism, having worked in print, radio, television, and web journalism.