Fremont Theater Adaptive Reuse

  • project: Fremont Multi-use
  • status: In Construction
  • location: Fremont, CA
  • size: 8,000 sf
  • team: Civil Engineer: Lea & Braze Engineering; Structural Engineer: Treat Structural Engineering ; MEP Engineer: ACIES Engineering; Real Estate Consulting: Fernando Cuebas
  • award: AIA San Francisco Design Awards 2023, category Unbuilt Design: Urban Design Concentration: Merit Award

The long vacant Fremont Theater in the Centerville neighborhood is being adapted to be reused as a multi-functional event space. The project draws on the history of the property as an entertainment and hospitality complex as the foundation to project a future accommodating a more diverse and varied collection of uses. We see the site as having a mix of the historical, the artful, and the community to give back to the public realm of the Centerville area of Fremont.

The structural shell and historical street side marquee are maintained in their raw forms – cultural and material traces of the building’s former use. Inserted into this volume is gathering space for dining and for varied events and communal use. The ground floor is imagined as an internal passage and public living room; a path from rear plaza space to the historical streetside entry. Above and beside this public open space are various programmatic elements from ground floor teahouse – operated by the owner – to other dining experiences and co-work office space. Anchoring this street level activity is a multi-functional event space in which the previous theater’s main screen was located. Anything from concerts to lectures to art gallery can be accommodated in this open space. Even the rooftop is reimagined as a production garden and outdoor gathering space. Future development would include multi-unit housing in the rear parking lot and the creation of a mid-alley public plaza.

As part of the long-term investment strategy, we first needed to stop the building from slowly crumbling and reverse its neglect. Concurrently we needed to find a tenant, possibly on a short-term basis, who would bring energy and life to the building and to the surrounding neighborhood. We found that tenant in SLAM Basketball, an organization supporting the development of skills and leadership through the sport of basketball. By having SLAM as a tenant the ownership has been able to make the necessary investment not only to clean up the building but also allows for investment into any future plans that will require a more in-depth community outreach and entitlement process.