Access to performing arts space in question 

DALY CITY — The transformation of one of the 20 theaters at the Century Theatre into a performing arts space for Daly City is nearly complete, but the sale of the theater chain to Cinemark has some worried about how much access the city will have.

Work on the 300-seat Pacific Plaza theater space is about 90 percent complete and has been since May, city staff said this week. All that is left to be done is plug in the lights and sound equipment, Council Member Judith Christensen said.

The city hopes to use the Pacific Plaza space in the future for public activities, cultural events or school plays or graduations in case of inclement weather.

The sale of the Century Theatre chain has the city concerned, however, because the agreement giving the city access to the specialized theater space was made with the Syufy family, the chain’s former owners.

Daly City City Manager Pat Martel and City Attorney Stan Gustafson reviewed past agreements with the property owners and said that through the sale to the Plano, Texas-based Cinemark, the city should still retain access to the theater for public activities, Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. until midnight.

The theater, however, would have discretion over usage.

Christensen said the selling point of the theater was that the city would have the performing arts space for activities to bring the whole community together.

She questioned the amount of access the city would have.

"We should have been more aggressive in getting more access," Christensen said.

The Century 20 theater opened in June 2004. Vice Mayor Sal Torres said that the ground-floor, 300-person theater was chosen for the performing arts space because its exit could be used as an outside entrance during events.

Council Member Carol Klatt said she thought a good use of the space would be the Jefferson High School graduation.

"It’s foggy sometimes, and cold," Klatt said, of the need for an indoor venue.

dsmith@examiner.com

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