san francisco theater

Photo: OpenSFHistory/wnp30.0328.jpg

4-Star Theater, an independently run movie theater in San Francisco’s Richmond neighborhood, has been on the market since June 2015, and its owner is getting impatient. Impatient enough, it seems, to list the theater on Craigslist.

The ad, which has now expired, appears to have been an unusual last-ditch effort to sell the property. While the theater was originally listed for $2.8 million, the Craigslist post simply advised prospective buyers to call for more information.

Opened in 1913, 4-Star Theater was originally called La Bonita. During the WWII era, it was one of several intimately sized movie theaters in the Richmond area, with others including the Coliseum, the Alexandria (soon to be the site of a condo development) and the Balboa.

4-Star Theater was seen as a bottom-of-the-barrel establishment, says the Western Neighborhoods Project — it was cheap, and somewhere to send children to get out of the house. In the 60s, a false front was attached to the building; however, the original architecture could still be seen along 23rd Avenue.

Richmond is currently one of the most competitive neighborhoods in the US for house hunters, and the current owner of 4-Star Theater seems to recognize that. A LoopNet listing for the property describes it as “corner lot [with] enormous potential to develop as a mixed-use construction project.”

We’ll be staying tuned to see whether the theater, which now shows “alternative world cinema,” is eventually reborn as a housing development.

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