san diego haunted theater

Tucked away in the busy streets of Downtown San Diego is a towering historical building that’s been abandon for decades. The California Theater, built in 1927, was once a crowned beauty that entertained with movies and live theater.

Like most beautiful and abandoned spaces, multiple reasons can lead to its closure. The California Theater found itself competing with modern film theaters and more culturally known theaters like the Old Globe in Balboa Park.

Attempts were made in the 80’s to rebuild and refurbish this haunting beauty, but the owner defaulted on loans and it was shut down for good in the 90’s. It’s estimated to cost around $40 million if it were to be redone today. Much work is needed on not only the repair on its sensitive decoration but the leaking ceilings, asbestos, lead, and vermin population.

However, this old haunt sits on retail gold, with Sloan Capitol Partners wanting to turn that space into a used office and retail building in the prime Downtown San Diego Scene. It’s demolishing was scheduled by the city in March of this year, but was halted as a result of SOHO, the Save Our Heritage Organization.

SOHO specializes in preserving San Diego historical buildings and homes. Many Victorian-era homes that have been refurbished and upkeep can be seen around Bankers Hill and South Park. Despite the photos shown, there is probably potential in a space that holds so many memories and secrets.


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