A 72-year-old movie theater in San Jose that served up classic films before turning to adult fare in the 1970s is headed for the auction block.
The historic Burbank Theater, named for the unincorporated Santa Clara County neighborhood, will be up for auction starting Dec. 13. Bidding starts at $200,000, according to an online listing on CREXi, a commercial real estate data startup. The Mercury News earlier reported that the property would be sold at auction.
Owned by the U.S. Bank National Association, the theater at 552-560 S. Bascom Avenue is “one of the things that defines” the Burbank community, Ben Leech, executive director of the Preservation Action Council of San Jose, told the Mercury News. Leech said he hopes a buyer who plans to preserve the building will scoop it up, saying the group’s first choice would be to re-use it as a movie theater or become a home for community performances.
“Our hardline is that it shouldn’t be demolished, but let’s see what the use is and what the building can offer,” Leech told the Mercury News. “I do really get the sense this is something that a lot of people care about, but there hasn’t been that opportunity to express that.”
The two-story, approximately 14,000-square-foot property is easily recognized for its three-sided neon sign and marquee. It opened in 1949 as a double-feature movie house, showing arthouse and classic films, and transitioned into an adult film theater from the 1970s until the county shut it down as a public nuisance in 2000, the Mercury News reported. It was most recently home to a performing arts studio before falling into foreclosure, and has been vacant in recent years.
An approximately 500-seat theater takes up most of its rentable space, although there’s room for shops and offices, according to the Silicon Valley Business Journal.
[The Mercury News] — Matthew Niksa