San Jose’s historic Burbank Theater sells to local investor

San Jose real estate company is new owner of 72-year-old building, recognizable for its three-sided neon sign and marquee

Burbank Theater in San Jose (Loopnet)
Burbank Theater in San Jose (Loopnet)

A San Jose real estate investor is the new owner of the city’s historic Burbank Theater, which showed classic films before turning to adult fare in the 1970s.

Tru Investments LLC acquired the property, named for the unincorporated Santa Clara County neighborhood, for $1.6 million, the Mercury News reported. The deal was recorded with the county’s Clerk-Recorder’s Office on Jan. 13, exactly one month after the U.S. Bank National Association put the 72-year-old building up for auction. Bidding started at $200,000, according to an online listing on commercial real estate data startup CREXi that it’s since taken down.

The theater at 552-560 S. Bascom Avenue is one of the landmarks that defines the Burbank community, Ben Leech of the Preservation Action Council of San Jose told the Mercury News last month. Leech said at the time he hoped a buyer who planned to preserve the building would scoop it up and that his group’s first choice would be to re-use it as a movie theater or a place for community performances. Tru Investments hasn’t publicly outlined its plans for the two-story, approximately 14,000-square-foot structure, recognizable for its three-sided neon sign and marquee. An approximately 500-seat theater takes up most of its rentable space, although there’s room for shops and offices, the Silicon Valley Business Journal reported in 2002.

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One of Tru’s members, Fred Mayer, calls himself an independent real estate developer, investor and private lender on his LinkedIn profile. His company doesn’t have a website or LinkedIn page.

The theater 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 said. Its most recent tenant was a performing arts studio before falling into foreclosure, and it has been vacant in recent years.

[The Mercury News] — Matthew Niksa

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