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From 1977 to 2005, the Sixth Avenue Playhouse/St. Cecilia's offered some of the most adventuresome, commercially successful theater in San Diego. The former funeral chapel was the original home of the San Diego Rep. And when the Rep moved to Horton Plaza, Scott Feldsher and Sledgehammer rocked the walls and gained national attention.

On Wednesday, October 12, the Center City Advisory Committee will consider a proposal to convert the theater into a restaurant.

It's a public meeting in the CCDC board room, 401 B Street, at 5:15 p.m.

A second meeting takes place Thursday, October 19, at 1:00 p.m. Same location.

"The materials in their proposal have a glaring omission," says Douglas Jacobs, co-founder of the Rep. "They never mention that the building served as a successful theater and performing arts venue for almost 30 years. Or that it could become a theater once again.

"The Rep, in its first 10 years there, had a 35% to 45% growth rate, primarily through ticket sales. During that time, we grew from an annual budget of $18,000 to $2,000,000, once we landed in the Lyceum. That wouldn't have been possible without St. Cecilia's."

Jacobs and others - who urge people to voice their opinions at the meetings - say that no one consulted them about the proposal.

"No one in the theater community knew this was happening, so CCDC couldn't have advertised it very thoroughly and, for whatever reason, they didn't take into account perhaps the heaviest use of the building - as a theater.

"It's a 200 seat downtown San Diego theater capable of paying local actors and technicians a living wage. That's a major economic resource! How many local theaters know the city is willing to put over a million dollars into the building, including $200,000 for tenant improvements?

"In short, the people who worked in that building for 30 years have not been included in the process, and it seems as if the final decisions, going to committee and board this week and next, should be delayed for 90 days to ensure due diligence and protect all parties."

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Comments

Prosperina Oct. 11, 2011 @ 9:45 p.m.

Thank you and Doug Jacobs for bringing the story about St. Cecilia's to light! I agree that every effort should be made to keep it in the community as an artistic venue! The arts are always on the "D" list when it comes to development, funding, promotion and other considerations; and yet, the arts give so much to the community in terms of employment, cultural growth, diversity, education, and entertainment. I truly hope that the CCDC will consider a 90-day postponement before a decision is made on the St. Cecilia Theatre space -- it has such a rich history, it would be a shame to lose yet another piece of San Diego's artistic venues.

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tranny63 Oct. 13, 2011 @ 8:47 a.m.

Yes! I do remember this charming venue as a Funeral Parlor in the mid. '60's 4 I attended Cal-Western School of Performing Arts (now Cal-Western School Of Law) in the old Masonic Temple Bldg. On Cedar Between 3rd/4th. Also home of The DMV Before moving 2 Hillcrest. Also The Cedar Lanes Bowling Alley in Basement. And yes the City Powers 2be have ruined The Old SD Atlethic Club, Orig.SPA, Harcourt, Brace, et.al Ten Downing Rest. In Basement Now a vacant WTC Bldg. Waiting 2 house the homeless. And why they bulldozed the old Hollywood Burlesque Off-Broadway Theatre for a Parking Structure is a crying shame. Leave St. C's a theatre!!!

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Jeff Smith Oct. 14, 2011 @ 10:59 a.m.

Another one. Toward the end of the 19th century, kids used to climb Presidio Hill and throw rocks at an old adobe wall. They finally demolished it. Turns out it was a wall for the original Presidio.

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