City Starts Process to Possibly Buy Pagoda Theatre Site for Subway Stop

Two San Francisco supervisors have started the process to make an offer to purchase a piece of property for a possible expansion of the Central Subway into the city’s North Beach neighborhood, the supervisors announced today.

Supervisors Julie Christensen and Scott Wiener have asked the city’s Real Estate Division to appraise the property at 1741 Powell St. where the Pagoda Theater once stood.

Christensen’s aide Gary McCoy said the supervisor initiated the process Tuesday. The appraisal would give city officials the ability to negotiate a sale with the property owner.

The assessed value of the property is $4,909,477, according to the San Francisco Assessor-Recorder’s Office. The assessed value may be different from the appraised value.

McCoy did not say how much the city would be willing to pay for the property.

The Central Subway line, currently under construction and set to open in 2017, will connect the city’s South of Market neighborhood to Chinatown. The Pagoda Theater site would help extend the system to North Beach and Fisherman’s Wharf, as some city officials like Christensen and Wiener have called for.

Two large tunnel boring machines went 8,500 feet underground from SoMa and ended at the Pagoda Theater site last year as part of the subway project.

Christensen has made attempts to talk with the property owner about purchasing the property, according to her office. The owners are currently planning to build 19 luxury condominiums and a restaurant there.

“Losing this site for a proposed luxury condo project, without first exploring options to purchase the property, would be an enormous loss for the neighborhood and the city,” Christensen said in a statement.

“San Francisco needs more subways, and extending the Central Subway north is a key part of expanding our inadequate subway network,” Wiener said in a statement. “The Pagoda Theater is a critical site, and the city needs to get it together and purchase it.”

Keith Burbank, Bay City News

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  • baklazhan

    Hasn’t the city already paid millions just to rent the site? Also, I recall reading that prior to the subway project, the city had refused to allow the owner to demolish the theater or do much of anything with it, really. And then it came in, paid him a huge amount of money, and demolished it for him.

    According to another source: Muni is paying $131K per month to lease it for two years. The owner bought it for $4 million in 2004, and Muni is paying over $3 million just to rent it for two years, plus it’s doing the demolition work for him. And now the city might pay another ten million on top of that. Totally crazy.

    • Bruce

      Land values have increased substantially anyway. That $4M from 2004 wouldn’t buy half of that property today.