North Beach Pagoda Theater (Image Source:

According to a tipster, Joel Campos who purchased the long shuttered North Beach Pagoda Theater in 2004 and waged a long battle to secure approvals to develop the blighted building is in contract to sell the shell to a New York based developer today.

While we haven’t been able to confirm the details, we’ll keep you posted and plugged-in.

And once again, as the approved conversion of the Pagoda Theater into 18 condos over ground floor commercial and 27 parking spaces was last rendered:

Pagoda Theater Rendering 2010

28 thoughts on “North Beach Pagoda Theater Set To Be Sold To New Yorkers Today?”
  1. It’s almost criminal that this building has been a blight for so long. Every time I see it, my disgust for Aaron Peskin and the THD grows.

  2. Should be left as is ….just install a large billboard on top reading “Ode to SF Elected Progressives”!

  3. It will be interesting to see at what price this sells. He paid $4 million which is already $200 plus per door. Out of town buyers – seems all too familiar…the cycle went from boom to bust much faster this time.

  4. Perfect case study of how San Francisco got to where it is today. This is a building of no architectural character that in any other “world class” city would be an eye sore and torn down. Here in precious San Francisco this structure needs to be celebrated for its “unique” character and history because it is older than 15 years and is in San Francisco. And to think some here continue to compare us to NYC, London, Paris and Chicago.

  5. One blighted theater in North Beach makes SF less of a world class city? Strange logic there out raged.
    Peskin and the THD crowd really are a bunch of thugs though, it would have been nice if he had been able to build, seemed like a decent design.

  6. @Helmut, do you think this ugly unworthy building would be saved by groups in any of the cities I have listed? But it is not just this theater, it is the countless buildings that are considered “historic” in San Francisco, but would be considered tear downs in most other “world class” cities. Even our celebrated so-called Victorians are mostly cheaply built wood structures that used off the shelf decorative wood trim pieces purchased by builders to be used exactly the same way again and again and again throughout the city. What makes San Francisco unique is its setting with the bay, hills and pacific air and light, and therefore rather “world class” and worth saving.

  7. Outraged, no, this third-rate Deco building would not be preserved elsewhere… but your point about Victorians is unfounded. San Francisco has some of the largest intact Victorian (pre-1901, not “so-called”) neighborhoods in the country, and they are made of wood (sometimes redwood) because that was what was available at the time & place, and therefore “authentic” to the city’s location and history as much as Jerusalem sandstone or southwestern adobe.

  8. Perhaps “outraged” is disappointed that San Franciscans weren’t building cast concrete steel-and-glass Stanley Saitowitz-style specials in 1901.

  9. Anyone who has traveled outside of N America would not include SF and “world class” in the same sentence.

  10. San Francisco is a beautiful regional capital with some world-class features. I’d put it on par with the secondary capitals of Europe, like, say Budapest or Stockholm, or maybe Barcelona. Our symphony is among the best in the world, and our restaurants can compete internationally, so “almost world class” …with an asterisk.

  11. San Francisco is actually an Alpha city. Budapest and Stockholm are beta and beta+ cities. Barcelona is an Alpha – city.
    I think San Francisco has real potential to take the reign back from Los Angeles as an Alpha+ city and the dominant west coast world city. The office market in LA, especially downtown, is not doing too well. SF is leading the nation in office rent growth. The future economy of the world is centered right here in the bay area and this city has a unique position to be able to capture it away from the valley. I hope we don’t screw it up.

  12. On the subject of world class, I guess it depends on one’s definition. I will say when traveling abroad, the people I’ve met always say SF is the first place they want to visit.

  13. I too have traveled a lot in the U.S. and abroad. I think Disneyland and Disneyworld are the top choices I’ve heard people mention they want to visit. Anaheim and Orlando are world class cities indeed.
    Of course SF is very pretty and I think it’s a great place and I like the people. It’s why I chose to live here. But it ain’t NY, or LA, or Paris, or London, or Chicago, or Berlin, or Tokyo, or . . . you get the point.

  14. I’ve always found it funny in an ironic way the the “Happiest Place On Earth” can be found in either Orlando or Anaheim.

  15. Of course its not NY, LA, Paris, London, Chicago, Berlin, or Tokyo – its San Francisco.
    That’s the point.

  16. The average global citizen does rate SF pretty highly IMO. And in wide ranging terms defining a “Global City”, aparently so does the journal Foreign Policy, various thinktanks, and numerous current studies. But guess what? Haters on Socketsite do not, so let’s give their words the time of day.
    Yeah? Pass.

  17. It is a city with much charm, which has recommeded it to world travelers for years. Of course there is more than just charm that makes it “world class”. But if most of the posters on this site have their way, that charm will be replaced with density, lost views except those from the highend living/hotel units and more higher density. Indeed a lot of the quirkiness that is San francisco that make it a destination is on the way to being lost.

  18. I would disagree that the quirky character of the city is being lost. It is undergoing changes, as all places do, and while some traits get subsumed others bubble up to take their place. There was a time when SF was an incredibly strong Union Town with a massive commercial port along side a major military presence. Those traits are gone now, replaced over time with other fascinating and enriching movements: hippies from the 60’s to the tech boom of the late 90’s through today. We are a better and more interesting place because of all this churning, and will likely stay better for it and more interesting for a long time to come.
    It is a great thing to be here.

  19. This talk of whether SF is a “World class city” reminded me of a Time article I came across many years ago. It was published in 1969 and reading it today is amusing.
    I first read it aloud to a small group of friends and after the first paragraph we decided to make our own list of “great cities” and then read the rest of the article to find out how our opinions matched the authors. Our list was a lot longer than the author’s conclusion.
    It is a fun read if nothing else as a barometer of the attitudes forty years ago. They even mention our little SF. The article is transcribed here:

  20. What is interesting to me is the AGE of the people involved in trying to save wrecks like this building. I think it is not San Francisco “charm” they are trying to save, but memories of their long ago youth.
    There is nothing worse than a city that sells itself on historic memories of better days from the past. I would much rather see a skyline that does not resemble the skyline of 1985, and woulld find this city far more “world class” if there was more change for visitors to observe. Whenever I fly into Los Angeles, the greeting in the airport is “Welcome to Los Angeles, America’s creative capitol”. People do not visit Los Angeles to see what happened 100 years ago but are going to experience a modern city that makes its mark on the world stage. San Francisco needs to think forward, not backward.

  21. “The average global citizen does rate SF pretty highly IMO.”
    Interested to know your definition of an “average global citizen”. The term is almost an oxymoron. And how many of these “citizens” do you know to be able to make such a broad generalization that they all rate SF highly? Are you an “average global citizen”? Do you all meet for drinks at airport lounges to discuss the ranks of global cities?

  22. I knew that that was poorly written and would be subjected to parsing ridicule as soon as I hit “post.” I should have said “in my experience, many well educated people I’ve spoken to in my own humble sojourns, worldwide, have happened to rate SF highly if and when the subject comes up.” Or something. But I didn’t say that. However since you’re being so reductive I think it’s fair to point out that “IMO,” is an acronym which contains an “O” for opinion. So thanks for choosing to deconstruct something (admittedly) poorly worded, that was very clearly as stated opinion, mike. Do you have an opinion about the other part of my post? Because the criteria in those studies as shown in sf’s 8:08 5/16 link is diverse, and SF continues to pop up in the top 25 cities or better.

  23. I don’t hate SF (lived here since 1967), I just think it’s comical how so many of the conversations on socketsite devolve into whether or not SF is a “world class city” or whether the destruction of an abandoned building will somehow kick SF on said list. There also appears to be a bit of insecurity with the need some people have to constantly fall back on the “but we’re a world class city” refrain. I have no evidence to the contrary, but I can’t imagine the folks in London (or Tokyo, or Paris….) worrying about such things.
    I agree with Helmut, cities change. I work in the financial district and when I look out of my window on the 20th floor, 90% of the buildings I see were not here in 67. Doesn’t mean I want the city to look the same as it did 40 years ago. I know it’s a cliché, (geezer time!) but I was here when the pyramid was under construction and remember all the letters to the editor that appeared in the Comical fretting about how it would destroy the skyline. (Oh yeah, and I still miss the Embarcadero Freeway. Rent Koyaanisqatsi.)

  24. @Mike, the Embarcadero Freeway was what Herb Caen called the greatest ride outside of Disneyland. (He later came to rightly understand the freeway had to go.) Out of town friends jaws would drop when I would drive them into the city on the Embarcadero looping through towers and finally dropping into the heart of the city. HOWEVER, the Embarcadero Freeway was the WORST thing to happen to the city and I was happy the 89 quake caused its removal. (Still, speeding in my 88 BMW convertible (grad gift) with friends holding on will always be a nice memory.)
    Found this on YouTube

  25. Thanks backwhen! Brings back great memories. I used to drive my friends crazy when they complained about how the embarc blocked views. My arguement was that the best views were FROM THE FREEWAY!
    The central freeway was a great ride too when it extended past city hall.

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