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Plans to Demolish 'Dome' Move Ahead, Talks Turn To Commemoration

The Pleasant Hill Architectural Review Commission decided Thursday to approve SyWest development plans. The design will include a memorial to the "dome" theater, which will be demolished and replaced by a sporting goods store.

Members of the Pleasant Hill Architectural Review Commission were faced with one fundamental question at the Thursday meeting: is the "dome" theater worth saving as a historical and cultural icon in the city?

The answer, they decided, is "no."

Plans to demolish the CinéArts theater as part of the redevelopment of the Crossroads Shopping Center were approved, with three members of the commission agreeing to SyWest's project proposal. The fourth — Vice Chair John Hart — dissented. 

"I hate to see the 'dome' go, but I understand the developer's desire here," said Hart, who added that he has been watching movies at the theater since 1972. "I'm going to miss it."

"I've never liked the 'dome'," said Commissioner George Corrigan. "To me, it was always a mid-60s marketing gimmick. It was fun while we had it, but it's not something we should preserve."

Instead, the commission backed the idea of commemorating the "dome" in the development design, such as through a tiled mural on the wall of the new Dick's Sporting Goods building that would depict the domed structure. SyWest's newly submitted plan for dome-shaped arches and trellises was rejected by the commission, and the developers were instructed to explore alternative memorial ideas, which would need to be approved before occupancy.

Ahead of Thursday's public hearing, more than 2,000 public comments were received and included in the staff report. Three speakers also addressed the commission during the meeting in support of keeping the "dome."

A formal appeal to the city's public planning commission closes April 8 in time for the April 9 meeting. Fans of the 'dome' hope that the city can save it from destruction by opting to protect it as a local historical landmark. A consulting firm hired by the city deemed that the "dome" did not meet requirements for preservation as part of the California Register, which mandates that buildings must be more than 50 years old or of "exceptional importance." Pleasant Hill's "dome" is 46 years old.

If development plans move ahead unhindered, Pleasant Hill's "dome" theater will be torn down at the end of this month.

For updates on the fate of the "dome" theater, join Pleasant Hill Patch on Facebook, follow on Twitter and click "keep me posted" below.

Iris Alfonso-Giebus May 05, 2013 at 03:30 AM
The city should place emotions aside (and personal aesthetics as well), realize that becoming gentrified is NOT always the answer but rather, a sad commentary on our societies lack of individualization. The dome has the potential to become a cultural center in the Bay Area where there are so many talented citizens. The residents tax dollars voted the city officials in, now they would be wise to listen to the voice of MANY of the voters in addition to stop chasing the almighty dollar! Should we accept "Dicks Sporting Goods", or yet another chain-store, as symbolic of our current day values? It's not even the building that is significant here but the lack of appreciation for history and individual thinking. Voice your opinion if you want more than a cookie-cutter solution to urban-living.
Iris Alfonso-Giebus May 07, 2013 at 06:17 AM
Right on!
Iris Alfonso-Giebus May 07, 2013 at 06:23 AM
It's not delusional to preserve history! Its dangerously myopic to do otherwise. It's the building thats in danger here AS WELL as an arts-house. What if we applied your perspective to the Roman Ruins, they were only 46 years old once. Imagine DICK SPORTING GOODS STORE in place of Versailles! Yikes, your kind of tunnel-vision is scary.
Solnyshko May 07, 2013 at 06:33 PM
"Should we accept "Dicks Sporting Goods", or yet another chain-store, as symbolic of our current day values? It's not even the building that is significant here but the lack of appreciation for history and individual thinking. Voice your opinion if you want more than a cookie-cutter solution to urban-living."- right on!
Solnyshko May 07, 2013 at 06:34 PM
Bob, you ARE wasting our time. go away.

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