Harding Theater 2015

As we first reported last week, plans to redevelop the long-shuttered Harding Theater at 616 Divisadero Street have been revived and could be approved by San Francisco’s Planning Commission next week.

Harding Theater Rendering 2015

In addition to a redevelopment of the theater building as an arcade and bar dubbed “Emporium SF,” with new retail fronting Divisadero as well, the proposed project includes the construction of a new five-story building with seven residential units and two parking spaces on the rear portion of the L-shaped theater parcel which fronts (1282) Hayes Street.

1282 Hayes Street Site

The proposed design will leave the entire theater building – save the small one-story mechanical room
addition which juts out into the undeveloped portion of the parcel along Hayes – intact.

1282 Hayes Street Rendering 2015

From the development team with respect to the plans:

“The existing building will be fully preserved and the damaged interior restored – the theater structure, inclusive of the rear stage and fly loft will remain in place and all significant character-defining spaces and details will remain.

Aside from the removal of the existing mechanical room attached to the south side, the proposed changes include upgrading the restrooms, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems; restoration of the former storefronts; interior restoration of damaged plaster grillwork in the auditorium; and restoration and reconstruction of the marquee canopy at the front facade.

Other improvements include creating level floor areas on top of the existing raked auditorium and stepped balcony floors; restoring the proscenium stage opening to the auditorium; the addition of three bar areas at various locations; and creating support spaces in the basement area. The general interior finishes will also be refurbished throughout.”

Plans for redeveloping the Harding Theater site have been in the works since 2003, when a proposal to raze the theater, which was then being used as a church, and build up to 18 residential units and 5,500 square feet of retail space was approved and then challenged by preservationists, as was a scaled-back proposal in 2008.

Comments from Plugged-In Readers

  1. Posted by seriously

    Fantastic! This program makes me think of the Vida+Alamo Drafthouse project on Mission. So glad to see these gorgeous theaters restored.

  2. Posted by Sutro_Tower

    It looks like although the theater will be restored the branding of it being known as “The Harding” will be gone in favor of it being dubbed “Emporium SF.” The Historic marquee shown in previous renderings is conspicuously absent in this latest round.

  3. Posted by Neil Koris

    Was there any architecturally significant detail remaining in the theater?

  4. Posted by grove_cole

    7 units and 2 parking places? There is no street parking spots available in this area pretty much at any time of the day.

    • Posted by Mark

      Oh, the California car mentality that never seems to change. Not everyone who buys/rents wants or needs to have a car. It’s that simple.

      • Posted by seriously

        I don’t have a car or a bike and I love it! Yay! Keeps my rent cheap.

    • Posted by Stop Driving

      Please stop driving everywhere you go. It is extremely lazy and wasteful in a city like ours.

    • Posted by haighter

      If you want to own a car, live in a building with off-street parking. Many of us have no need to own a personal vehicle.

    • Posted by morpheus

      It’s actually really easy to park near there with the new Residential Parking Permits. I can almost always find something within a block of my house.

      • Posted by lyqwyd

        True, parking is not nearly as difficult as grove_cole makes it sound. Not to mention that there are often parking spaces for rent in the convalescent? home next door. Additionally, this is a very well transit served location, and a very walkable / bikaeable neighborhood. Not everybody cares to own a car, and this is a great location for those that don’t

  5. Posted by Rob Thomson

    Very exciting news! Too bad the blade sign is not included (for now, anyway). That could be a wonderfully restored feature (here’s what it looked like).

    Let’s keep these theaters coming back!

  6. Posted by JRSF

    So does this version of the proposal still put condos up against the stage at the Independent? This is that property, right?

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