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HomeNewsHundreds of San Jose homes might sprout at former domed movie theaters

Hundreds of San Jose homes might sprout at former domed movie theaters

SAN JOSE — Hundreds of homes could spring up at two locations in San Jose, where dome theaters once operated and screened blockbuster movies, public documents show.

Syufy Enterprises, a longtime owner and operator of numerous domed theaters in the Bay Area, has filed separate proposals to build apartments on the properties.

The company has proposed the development of more than 500 homes roughly evenly split between San Jose’s two lots.

For decades, San Rafel owned and operated domed theaters in numerous Bay Area locations, including a once-prominent cluster of movie theaters in San Jose with their distinctive space-age rooflines.

Century 24 movie theater sign in San Jose at 741 South Winchester Boulevard. (George Avalos/Bay Area News Group)

Most of these theaters that Syufy operated were located primarily on Winchester Boulevard in San Jose, near today’s Westfield Valley Fair and Santana Row mega-malls. The vast majority have been bulldozed.

Here are the San Jose locations where Syufy Enterprises and its affiliate SyRES Properties have proposed housing projects, along with the number of homes being provided:

  • 257 units at 741 South Winchester Boulevard, a three-acre site where the domed Century 24 movie theater operated for decades. The Century 24 opened in 1968 and was bulldozed in 2014, according to San Jose city records.
  • 252 units at 5655 Gallup Drive, a three-acre site where the Century 5 Almaden Theaters operated. Syufy now leases the domed building to Menlo Church.

San Rafael-based Syufy Enterprises had previously proposed a project at the Century 24 site. In 2019, Syufy proposed a large health club on site. Just a few months later, the coronavirus outbreak broke out, a catastrophe that sickened the fitness center industry worldwide and in the Bay Area.

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Now the economic woes caused by the coronavirus have died down. Demand for new homes in the Bay Area remains consistently high.

With both proposals, Syufy seeks to leverage the provisions of SB 330, a state law passed in 2019 designed to shorten the time to get new housing projects approved, which prevents local governments from imposing housing and population limits, and which limits the compensation.

The news organization reached out to a representative from Syufy Enterprises on Thursday for comment on both proposals.

The housing proposals are both at a very early stage. That means the property owner is trying to get feedback on how city politicians and city employees might see the projects.



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