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Some neighbors wary of Adams Avenue Theater

When will it open, where will they park?

Black Flag played Adams Avenue Theater in 1983.
Black Flag played Adams Avenue Theater in 1983.

Last month, Normal Heights neighbors posted photos of the Adams Avenue Theater on social media, wondering what would be moving into the near-100-year-old building. Then, on April 15, Devyn Randolph posted a picture of a flier taped onto the inside of a fence blocking the terrazzo where silent-movie goers once waited to enter.

The flier read in part: "Adams Avenue Theatre — a restored city chic, multi-purpose theatre, and private event space."

Before snapping a photo, Randolph recalled the flier reading "Fall 2022," but the venue's management recently taped over the "Fall 2022" part.

On May 10, I reached out to the 6,100 square-foot venue's management via an email address posted on their website. No response was received before this article went to print.

The website states what's coming to the former circa-1924 Carteri theatre located at 3325 Adams Avenue, that's feet away from the old Normal Heights sign hanging atop the Adams and Felton intersection. "Welcome back to the Adams Ave. Theater! Located in the music-centric neighborhood of Normal Heights. The historic building that was once a movie hub turned music venue has been restored and is heading back to its roots."

The photos posted on the flier and website depict a much classier venue than when it was a punk rock concert venue in the 80s and a fabric store in the 2000s-2010s when I lived two blocks away.

Flyer on fence nearby

A nearby resident commented underneath Randolph's original post. "I went to many punk concerts there back in the 80s. Such good memories and that space is an excellent music venue! I only hope they don't uglify the venue too badly; those ultra-modern photos are somewhat cringe-worthy (IMHO)."

Mark Brown, a former musician and current Uber driver thinks the venue with a new "built-in speakeasy-style bar" and "projector and video wall... will thrive. I think this theater holds the record for the most consecutive showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show, more than any other theater in the country. And as long as the acoustics are spruced up, I think it would make a fine venue for music."

Like many who live by the 298-occupancy theater's vicinity, Brown is concerned about the limited parking in the neighborhood between the 15 and the 805, south of the 8 freeway. However, he's still optimistic about the remodeled music venue. "With my experience as a ride-share driver," he continued, "most people take ride-shares to concerts nowadays."

Jahida Sky from Chula Vista agrees with her fellow Uber driver.

"As a performer, parking is important; however, if people want to come to see you, they are not really going to care for that .... and get an Uber."

Sky, 28, has been driving for Uber for over three years; she's a reggaetón singer who will perform at the FoodieLand Night Market festival in Del Mar on May 13-15.

She added: "Most people would opt for Uber/Lyft; however, that would make it complicated for drivers unless they (Adams Avenue Theatre) get a designated pickup/drop-off place to make it easier for them."

Other San Diego promotional companies have rented parking lots nearby their events to accommodate the share-drivers pickups and drop-offs. For example, North of Felton, about a quarter mile from the theatre, there's a parking lot in front of the St. Didacus Catholic Church, and about a quarter mile to the east of the venue, there's a parking lot in front of the Normal Heights Masonic Temple.

And while the advent of share riding into a music event sounds convenient and appealing for concertgoers, especially if they want to party, there are drawbacks for the share ride drivers. Sky concluded: "Some [share ride drivers] are deterred by traffic or poor event organization, or sometimes those big events have low fares, so it's not really worth it being stuck in traffic."

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Black Flag played Adams Avenue Theater in 1983.
Black Flag played Adams Avenue Theater in 1983.

Last month, Normal Heights neighbors posted photos of the Adams Avenue Theater on social media, wondering what would be moving into the near-100-year-old building. Then, on April 15, Devyn Randolph posted a picture of a flier taped onto the inside of a fence blocking the terrazzo where silent-movie goers once waited to enter.

The flier read in part: "Adams Avenue Theatre — a restored city chic, multi-purpose theatre, and private event space."

Before snapping a photo, Randolph recalled the flier reading "Fall 2022," but the venue's management recently taped over the "Fall 2022" part.

On May 10, I reached out to the 6,100 square-foot venue's management via an email address posted on their website. No response was received before this article went to print.

The website states what's coming to the former circa-1924 Carteri theatre located at 3325 Adams Avenue, that's feet away from the old Normal Heights sign hanging atop the Adams and Felton intersection. "Welcome back to the Adams Ave. Theater! Located in the music-centric neighborhood of Normal Heights. The historic building that was once a movie hub turned music venue has been restored and is heading back to its roots."

The photos posted on the flier and website depict a much classier venue than when it was a punk rock concert venue in the 80s and a fabric store in the 2000s-2010s when I lived two blocks away.

Flyer on fence nearby

A nearby resident commented underneath Randolph's original post. "I went to many punk concerts there back in the 80s. Such good memories and that space is an excellent music venue! I only hope they don't uglify the venue too badly; those ultra-modern photos are somewhat cringe-worthy (IMHO)."

Mark Brown, a former musician and current Uber driver thinks the venue with a new "built-in speakeasy-style bar" and "projector and video wall... will thrive. I think this theater holds the record for the most consecutive showings of Rocky Horror Picture Show, more than any other theater in the country. And as long as the acoustics are spruced up, I think it would make a fine venue for music."

Like many who live by the 298-occupancy theater's vicinity, Brown is concerned about the limited parking in the neighborhood between the 15 and the 805, south of the 8 freeway. However, he's still optimistic about the remodeled music venue. "With my experience as a ride-share driver," he continued, "most people take ride-shares to concerts nowadays."

Jahida Sky from Chula Vista agrees with her fellow Uber driver.

"As a performer, parking is important; however, if people want to come to see you, they are not really going to care for that .... and get an Uber."

Sky, 28, has been driving for Uber for over three years; she's a reggaetón singer who will perform at the FoodieLand Night Market festival in Del Mar on May 13-15.

She added: "Most people would opt for Uber/Lyft; however, that would make it complicated for drivers unless they (Adams Avenue Theatre) get a designated pickup/drop-off place to make it easier for them."

Other San Diego promotional companies have rented parking lots nearby their events to accommodate the share-drivers pickups and drop-offs. For example, North of Felton, about a quarter mile from the theatre, there's a parking lot in front of the St. Didacus Catholic Church, and about a quarter mile to the east of the venue, there's a parking lot in front of the Normal Heights Masonic Temple.

And while the advent of share riding into a music event sounds convenient and appealing for concertgoers, especially if they want to party, there are drawbacks for the share ride drivers. Sky concluded: "Some [share ride drivers] are deterred by traffic or poor event organization, or sometimes those big events have low fares, so it's not really worth it being stuck in traffic."

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