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Challenge

How can you secure the economic viability of the highly-desirable small neighborhood theater in today’s milieu of big chain multiplexes?   Changing market dynamics have forced single-screen cinemas to evolve in order to survive, both as successful enterprises and neighborhood amenities.  While the original 1928-built single-screen theater failed in the early 2000’s at the time when corporate multiplexes had crowded an already tight market using lower margins and greater marketing reach, the community still desired a first-run local theater.  San Francisco’s Neighborhood Theater Foundation, the building owner, and a new theater operator each had different metrics for the success of this project.

Approach

MKThink and the building owner took an inclusive approach to work closely with the Neighborhood Theater Foundation and City to help negotiate a solution that would be economically viability in today’s multiplex world, yet resurrect the Marina Theater.  Acting as architect and part-liaison, MKThink developed plans that met the economic thresholds and local interests.

Solution

MKThink completely renovated the building and reworked the plans to accommodate a two-screen theater and a major retail anchor tenant.  The historic building façade was cleaned and restored with dramatic lighting befitting a center-stage building in this neighborhood.  This solution was embraced by the neighborhood community and unanimously approved by the San Francisco Planning Commission. The theater reopened and resumed its important role as a community focal point.

“It’s incredible to have this great gathering space returned to our community”
– Nikki Tankursley, Marina resident