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SF Heritage Defends Clay Theater building

SF Heritage Defends Clay Theater Building

In response to an application for a Certificate of Appropriateness (COA) by the owner of 2261 Fillmore Street to make interior and exterior changes to the former Clay Theater building which would preclude its use as a single screen movie theater, San Francisco Heritage will present the following letter to the Historic Preservation Commission on September 6, 2023:

August 14, 2023

President Diane Matsuda
Historic Preservation Commission
San Francisco Planning Department
49 South Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94103

Re: CUA- 2261 Fillmore Street (Clay Theatre)

Dear President Matsuda and commissioners:

San Francisco Heritage opposes the proposed Conditional Use Authorization for 2261 Fillmore Street, otherwise known as the Clay Theater and designated as San Francisco City Landmark #302.

Any claim that theater use of the building is economically infeasible is refuted not only by active operation of similarly sized theatres in the city (Balboa, Vogue, Roxie, and the recently reopened 4 Star), but by a recent market-rate offer for the theater property by the San Francisco Neighborhood Theater Foundation.

If a change of use is approved, any proposed alterations to the building should retain the flexibility to return the space for future theater/auditorium use. Examples would include minimum required exits and restrooms.

San Francisco’s public gathering spaces and artistic venues make our city’s neighborhoods and communities vibrant and are the drivers of economic recovery. We should preserve them where we can and especially when they are, like the beloved Clay Theater, historic, valued, and viable.

Thank you for your consideration and your service to historic preservation in the city.


Woody LaBounty
President & CEO

Heritage NewstheaterClay TheaterAdvocacyLandmark

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