The Strand Theater

Constructed in 1917, the Strand Theater at 1127 Market Street has sat vacant and boarded up since 2003 when it was raided and closed down by the San Francisco Police Department, having last served as an adult video venue and haven for drug users.

Purchased by the American Conservatory Theater (ACT) earlier this year, ACT’s plans for renovating the four-story building on Market between Seventh and Eighth Streets are now making their way through Planning.

The existing floor plan and configuration of the building are as follows: The ground floor contains the lobby, movie screen, and main (orchestra) seating area/auditorium. The upper three floors do not extend the entire length of the building. The existing theater provides seating for approximately 1,100 people. The seating area includes rows of ground-floor orchestra seating and rows of seating in a partial second-floor balcony with its access from a marble-clad staircase in the center of the front lobby.

The proposed project includes building renovations to convert the former combination movie theater into a live performance theater, with associated rehearsal space/black box theater, costume and sound/ lighting facilities, offices, and a ground-floor cafe, for the American Conservatory Theater (ACT). The live performance venue would have 299 seats and would serve as a second stage venue for smaller productions and performances by ACT’s Master of Fine Arts Program students and other small theater companies.

The façade of the building will be repainted without any changes to the wall cladding while new windows and entrance doors will be installed on the ground floor and an 18-inch high awning with a 14-inch LED sign band will be installed along the front of the building.

The Strand Renovation Rendering

While we’re all for the renovation of The Strand, we would have loved to have seen the major mix-use redevelopment that was once on the boards for the building brought to life:

1127 Market Massing (

7 thoughts on “The New ACT For The Shuttered Strand Theater On Market Street”
  1. It would be great if the ACT’s cafe was open to the public and not just during performances. More feet on the street during the day, not just to/from an office, is what this area needs to make the leap.

  2. That facade is not worthy of preservation. San Francisco continues to believe anything old must remain.

  3. Why? Just because something is old does not make it worth saving? This facade is pedestrian at best and not representative of any unique San Francisco heritage. Most of all, I am sick of the hiding modern towers by a “saved” facade at the base such as in this design. Just tear it down.

  4. Somethingnewplease…They aren’t building a tower…maybe you missed that. Since they are renovating an existing structure, I don’t begrudge the fact that they are simply cleaning up the facade. It’s an honest enough thing to do, particularly since they are maintaining the theater use.
    If a tower were being built here, I’d be inclined to agree with you. This facade is not very special. And yes, SF does bend over backwards sometimes to preserve very pedestrian buildings and objects (Doggie Head anyone?).

  5. In addition to what curmudgeon wrote above …when it comes to determining what is “worth saving”, I think the burden of proving the assertion “this facade is pedestrian at best and not representative of any unique San Francisco heritage” falls on the people making that claim when they try to apply it to a building standing since 1917.
    Especially when those making such claims are explicitly biased in favor of “modern towers” that presumably could be built anywhere, and are thus themselves (that is, the towers) devoid “of any unique San Francisco heritage”.

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