Miramar Closes Escrow!
Dec 04, 2019 09:56AM
● By Wayne Eggleston
Miramar Theater has been a blight in North Beach since 1992.
A brief history. The San Clemente Theatre opened in 1938 as “the most elaborate theatre development on the entire south coast.” The architect was Clifford A Balch. It was built in the Spanish Colonial style, and included modern heating and an air conditioning systems and seating that allowed patrons to sit upright or recline. The majestic interior, with elaborate chandeliers had seating for 650 people. The 44 foot tower was a visible icon at the northern entrance to San Clemente creating a sense of arrival. After World War II in 1946 the Bowling Alley was built less opulent but built in the same style, and closed in 1971. The theater closed in 1960 when multiplexes became popular, but was re-furbished and re-opened in 1970, and enjoyed a come-back with surfing and skiing movies. In the 1980’s live performances kept it alive until 1992, when it closed. New owners came and went with development plans to tear it down, but the community rose up in protest.
Jim Holloway, former Community Development Director and myself worked with the owner’s architect, Planning Commission and city council and the new development entitlements were approved in 2017. The Coastal Commission unanimously approved it 2017. The development entitlements comprise an Event Center and a high-end food court in the Bowling Alley and large patio area.
I wish to thank the following for their professional experience during the entitlement process: Jim Pechous and Amber Gregg, former Senior Planners; San Clemente Chamber of Commerce; Historical Society; Planning Commission Design Review; Planning Commissioners; City Councilmembers Lori Donchak, Tim Brown, Kathy Ward, Chris Hamm, Bob Baker. Special Thanks goes to city manager, James Makshanoff, and Cecilia Gallardo-Daly for their leadership. We hear that the city is not business friendly or responsive, but they could not have been more professional or timely with the process and approvals.
One historic era is closing and a new one is opening with an adoptive re-use of a treasured local historic structure. Stay tuned.