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Why not a downtown movie theater?

Original post made by Protect Ptown History, Downtown, on Feb 13, 2014

I'm sure this has come up on this forum but I was wondering if anyone knows if a movie theater has ever been proposed in downtown Pleasanton in the last 20 or 30 years. It seems like a two screen theater would be a perfect fit for downtown (missing tooth at the form Union Jack Pub parcel I'm talking to you).

I think it could really inject some life into the downtown and benefit other businesses. Something along the lines of the Vine in Livermore. I can't image a small theater would create huge parking issues and it wouldn't require a substantial amount of land. It would also fit the scale of other buildings. The Vine theater and countless other small theaters prove they can be a profitable and successful business model. Think of an Art-deco neon sign reading “Amador”. How about it?

Comments (22)

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Posted by Dancing Eddie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2014 at 8:59 pm

And it could show old Bob Hope and Bing Crosby movies in order to draw in the locals. I like it!

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Posted by F. Noir
a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2014 at 9:02 am

It may look quaint among the nail salons and banks but is a two screen theater financially feasible? Then the permitting process and parking issues but none of those are the biggest obstacle. The biggest challenge is the fact Pleasanton is a mean town and just read this web site for proof. Some citizens of Pleasanton promote ticketing anyone who is driving on the city streets but can not prove Pleasanton residency. How are you going to fill your theater when people are not allowed to drive to it?

You might consider playing the lottery or hunting unicorns on Pleasanton ridge since the odds are much more in your favor with those pursuits.
It's likely Pleasanton will never have a theater, the city can't get along for the length of time it would take to achieve that.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:09 am

We watch movies on TV or online...nobody goes to movies anymore...none of my senior gang trucks to a moview...are you nuts?

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Posted by Driver
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:27 am

Why? parking ! !

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Posted by Stewart
a resident of Danbury Park
on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:39 am

Ptown History,

I will answer and not make light of your suggestion. We used to have a movie theater in Pleasanton and it was over where Golfsmith currently resides in the Rose Pavilon. My understanding is that the landlord raised the rent through the roof to the point that it closed. The movie theater in Dublin and all the retail stores, restaurants which came with in were originally planned to come to Pleasanton. Our Mayor and council at the time (Hostermann) did not want the traffic so they declined and went to Dublin. I guess we did not need to tax revenue which would have come with it. I heard that the real reason is that the downtown business association which is basically part of our local government did not want to competition and lobbied our Mayor to decline the invitation.

Related to your idea about the movie theater downtown it is probably a good idea but as mentioned above traffic is a major issue and where would you park. The other issue is just flat our traffic. I cannot even imagine trying to start a business up in this town of that type in that area with the traffic we have.

Just as an FYI where Safeway is currently is on Santa Rita road used to be something and I cannot remember what but was either a bowling alley, ice skating rink, and Safeway was over by where Walgreens is.

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Posted by Protect Ptown History
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 14, 2014 at 11:27 am

I fail to see how a modest two screen theater would cause "major" traffic and parking impacts on downtown. I just don’t buy that argument. I suggested a two screen theater precisely because it would cause much less parking/traffic issues compared to a megaplex. Gee, somehow many other towns can sustain small or two screen theaters (Livermore, Orinda, Alameda, etc.) and the associated parking demands and live to see another day. Also, if a downtown so crowded that you can’t find a parking spot doesn’t that show that the downtown is active and thriving? Oh the horror! There are also other modes of transportation known as walking, biking, taking public transportation (I guess I’m asking too much) which you can use to get to the theater.

It seems like the hostility toward the theater is all part of the visionless “culture of no” that increasingly pervades Pleasanton. It’s all about what we can’t do, not what we CAN DO. No wonder Livermore's downtown is passing us by at light speed.

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Posted by Money
a resident of Mohr Park
on Feb 14, 2014 at 1:44 pm

Downtown History,

If all you want to do is attack and complain about Pleasanton then put your money where your mouth is and build one yourself. I bet you will make a lot of money and do well. Thrown down your money and let's go. Words and complaints are cheap.

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Posted by Protect Ptown
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 14, 2014 at 2:01 pm


Are you suggesting Pleasanton is beyond reproach? Is Pleasanton some perfect utopia that has no room for improvement? I’m happy to live in Pleasanton, but I also like to think critically and point out things that could be improved. I’ve presented a reasonable idea and your contribution is “build it yourself BOY!” Thanks Mr. Constructive...and thanks for not really addressing the topic.

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Posted by S
a resident of another community
on Feb 14, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Downtown Pleasanton will NEVER have the night life that Livermore/Walnut Creek has. Livermore did a great job redoing their downtown. Its amazing how so many people that live in Pleasanton, including myself visit these other towns because there IS a "night life". All those tax dollars going somewhere else. Downtown Pleasanton is dead after the 9:00 hour and there aren't that many great places to eat. I think the main problem here is that this city is run by old timers who don't want change.

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Posted by kbenson
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 14, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Pleasanton had a movie theater - On main st. It was located @ the spot taken by the "horse" Of course this was quite a few years ago, but you can find out more @ the pleasanton museum. Also located on Main st.

Movie theater in Pleasanton? I think a bowling alley or even a small animal park would be a way to attract people.

Like this comment
Posted by Driver
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2014 at 9:36 pm

Bowling alley would be good because it would allow teens, not yet driving, a handy 'activity', sort of. With proper policing of course!!

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Posted by Get the facts
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:02 pm

So Pleasanton has had at least three theaters:

One at what is now The Wine Steward on Main St. in Pleasanton, closed a long time ago. (A search shows three theaters in the downtown at one time or another.) Web Link

Another theater was located by Safeway, just as Stewart has stated above. Only one screen, if I remember correctly. I saw Grease there, which played with a Lynyrd Skynyrd documentary playing first. How about that for an odd combo. I think it closed in the early-to-mid 80's.

And a large six or eight screen cinema at Rose Pavillion, again as Stewart said above, only around for a decade or so. Closed maybe about 15-20 years ago?

Bottom line, at least three theaters, all closed now for one reason or another. I am no business genius, but clearly a theater is a bad investment in Pleasanton, and will probably never happen again.

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Posted by Dancing Eddie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 14, 2014 at 10:34 pm

A bowling alley! Now there's a good idea that would fit in with the town's image really good. My wife and I went bowling a lot when we visited my family back in Little Rock. The alley had a horseshoe pit out back which made for a lively and stimulating game of horseshoes.

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Posted by Sara
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Feb 15, 2014 at 2:22 am

The city had a downtown movie theatre .it was by safeway. Tucked between a ice cream shop and a liquor store.

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Posted by Theatre
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2014 at 8:53 am

I agree the Vine in Livermore is fun. Shows interesting films, has drinks, food and table service. Similar to theaters in San Francisco, Oakland, and Palo Alto. When my wife and I go to the movies that is where we go. Too bad all of the people on here are so negative. Many of the people who have moved to Pleasanton in recent years appreciate an alternative theatre like this, but according to some, since it didn't work before it won't work now. Somehow Livermore has made 2 theaters work. Hmmmm

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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2014 at 9:56 am

" I think the main problem here is that this city is run by old timers who don't want change."

Yes. Any change at all is bad for some of these people.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 15, 2014 at 10:17 am

A bowling alley would be a nice addition. However my preference would be to have a cricket field so that all citizens could have more fun!

Or a very large indoor public swimming pool. Maybe even a new hiking club.

I prefer sports to sitting in a movie and eating candy and popcorn.

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Posted by Pololo Mololo
a resident of Livermore
on Feb 15, 2014 at 10:23 am

An enclosed indoor track/obstacle course for large groups of people would go a long way to helping everybody get physically fit.

There could be walking venues/fields for young and old and those who have physical handicaps. Everybody could exercise more and get healthier.

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Posted by dem govt luver
a resident of Amador Estates
on Feb 15, 2014 at 12:08 pm

I suggest we have a government movie theatre. Then REQUIRE all Pleasanton citizens to view ALL government propaganda films. Obama and Jerry Brown will be doing this soon anyway.

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Posted by Right
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2014 at 7:43 pm

S and john, I think there's some dribble on your chins. When you boys grow up, earn a living and move out of your moms house, you can begin to imagine what adults like to do in downtown Pleasanton. Until then, you can always go to Dublin and visit chucky cheese.

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Posted by Dancing Eddie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 15, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I LOVE Chucky Cheeses. But it will never hop like the old soda fountains and malt shops. Horseshoes forever!

Like this comment
Posted by Too Cynical
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 23, 2014 at 8:41 pm

I like the idea. A theater akin to the Vine would be great with art-house films, couches and food and alcohol service. The under-50 crowd would eat it up just as it's revitalized the Vine (which used to just be a small, dilapidated boring-plex. Alas, I agree that this town has an aversion to anything approaching real night life downtown. Quiet restaurants, sure. Art galleries, how wonderfully snooty. Bars, okay but keep them divey to chase off the young non-locals. But places that might actually draw young people? Oh, the TRAFFIC!! Something like a sports bar would be great too. Not another creepy dive bar, an actual modern bar with big sports screens that might actually get, god forbid, FULL of paying customers late into the night. I don't think it can happen. People around here like their downtown sleepy, comatose even. But great idea.

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