A new community theater space that will host plays, dance events, live music, community events, parties and weddings is coming to East San Jose. San Jose Spotlight reports that “The San Jose Planning Commission has unanimously approved a permit to convert 6,700 square feet of a 28,000 square foot commercial property into a 200-seat indoor theater.” The space at 1783 Alum Rock Avenue, across from the Mexican Heritage Plaza, was recently acquired by the School of Arts and Culture through donations and the city.
“The only way to ensure that community assets stay in community hands is to take big steps like this. Getting into the real estate game and activating that space for the community…we are able to demonstrate to our partners that we can dream big and we can take it over the finish line,” says Jessica Paz-Cedillos of the School Arts. and Culture, speaking to San Jose Spotlight.
Site of the new theatre. | Photo credit: Google Maps
The theater complex will also have a cafe and a Gardner Health Services Wellness Center, which will provide mental health services and nutrition education opportunities to community members. Alvaro Perez, who lives in the neighborhood, told KPIX in April that mental health services could have a big impact. “I’ve had family with mental health issues, friends have. I know people who have committed suicide. So any opportunity that we can help people is always a good idea,” he said. -he declares.
East San Jose doesn’t exactly have the best reputation, but theater supporters think developing the vacant mall into something useful will help, especially with a nearby BART station at Alum Rock and 28th street in the next few months. years. “Often people don’t feel safe enough to come here. It doesn’t get the economic flow of business that other neighborhoods get. We want it to be a special stop on BART, an umbrella of cultural representation that makes you feel excited, welcome and joyful. Chris Esparza of the School of Arts and Culture told Spotlight.
Rendering credit: School of Arts and Culture
So far, around 80% of the funds for the project have been raised. The goal is to raise $20 million in total to run the theater. It is expected that there will be attractive color-changing lights outside, as well as murals that help add vibrancy to the neighborhood. The planning process, including building permits, is expected to be completed in the near future, with the theater building expected to open in late 2023 or early 2024.