Gaslamp movie house to get upgrade

March 22, 2017 by  

Demolition has begun on the interior of the Pacific and Reading theater, a 15-screen multiplex that was built in 1997.

The cinema closed last year, but is now being upgraded to turn it into a luxurious venue that, it is hoped, will bring people back downtown.

The project is being developed by Elie Samaha, who took inspiration for the theater from Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, of which he is part owner. The legendary movie house was opened in 1927, and draws visitors daily. Samaha says he wants to take the San Diego theater to a new level.

Among the planned amenities are eight auditoriums, seven of which would include drink and food service audience members could order from their seats, using embedded iPads. Cashmere blankets would be available if patrons got chilly, and Samaha said it is possible two theaters might be combined to make an IMAX theater, the first in downtown San Diego.

A French-style bistro, the Sugar Factory, would be part of the complex, with an entrance from Fifth Avenue, and a Chocolate Lounge would serve chocolate fondue, cocktails, and adult fare. There is also a candy store planned, as well as a gelato shop.

Gulla Jonsdottir, an Icelandic architect, is the designer on the project, and may incorporate dragons into her theme as an homage to Grauman’s. The theater should open by the end of 2017.

Projects like this can benefit if developers display colorful banners to add to the fun of the opening.