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Miramar On Track for Renovation, Owner Says

The city of San Clemente is hiring consultants to let them know what parts of the building are historically significant and what parts should be renovated.

The owner of the iconic-but-ramshackle Miramar Theater in North Beach said the building is on track for renovation as a theater and event center.

"I think we've come up with a plan that everybody likes," said owner Marc Spizzirri. "I hate to tell you [details] and have you publish them and start the conversation prematurely. It seems like with everything in town, there are a few naysayers that are pretty vocal.

"I can tell you I fully intend to restore the theater as a theater and save its original use," Spizzirri added.

Furthermore, installing retractable seating would allow the Miramar to host local plays, school plays, local bands, corporate events and other community event, Spizzirri said.

Spizzirri said he'd like to start construction in six months, but admitted that may be an unrealistic schedule.

"I'd like to have the entitlements done in the next six months so we can start renovation and construction," he said. "But that's the schedule from the guy who's paying the bills every month."

Right now, the city is using $28,000 in state grant and city matching money to hire consultants. The architectural experts will tell the city what significant features of the building should be saved and what parts aren't important or should be actively revamped to preserve the building's historical significance.

"It'll kind of be a roadmap of what they can do and what they're not allowed to do in the building," said San Clemente Senior Planner Jim Pechous.

One part of the theater Spizzirri said he's not interested in restoring is the bowling alley added onto the building long after it was constructed.

"Other than it's a familiar building in town, I don't see a lot of historical value," Spizzirri said. "The architecture isn't significant, the architect isn't significant."

He said he hoped the community would embrace the plan when it's made public during the approval process, though he recognizes there may be some criticism, as with any new project in town.

"There's going to be some people who just don't want anything to change," Spizzirri said. "And I get that. I'm like that myself to an extent."

TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS

What would you envision for the Miramar Theater?

Kevin Kellerman October 31, 2012 at 11:42 PM
There is plenty of parking, its just metered by the City. What great news..... Look at how beautiful the Casino is, and what value it brings to the community. The casino's events deal with the parking, and so can the updated theatre. I applaud your efforts, and hope for your success!
derek elder November 09, 2012 at 05:16 AM
This is great news! We appreciate Marc Spizzirri's motivation and leadership to address the Miramar issue! We own a home in north beach and are excited to see this property transformed into a nice community area. Please let us know how we can assist? This is such a great area and just needs some investment. Thank You!
Raad Ghantous November 09, 2012 at 05:11 PM
These pictures were taken during a onsite walk through of the Miramar Theater in San Clemente on 5/20/2010 when the property was put on the market briefly by the current owner Mark Spizzirri. The images document the condition of the building and some of the original 1938 decorative murals, sconces, hanging lamps and Moorish archways that flank the stage in the main auditorium space. The effects of the fire of a few years back seems to have been limited to the front lobby part where the concession and ticketing areas might have been. Also, in one of the pictures one can even see the words 'Reinforced Concrete' written in blue chalk! In the same area, which looks to be, the projection room there can be seen what looks like exposed rebar and structural metal in the main wall of the theater; The wall separating the lobby and upper level projection room from the main auditorium. All this physical evidence and the FACT that the Miramar Theater was build after the Long Beach Earthquake of 1933 means that the building is NOT a brick buildings with unreinforced masonry walls as a previous owner tried to claim in an attempt to declare the building unsound and secure a demolition permit!
Raad Ghantous November 09, 2012 at 05:13 PM
After the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, and due largely to the efforts of California Assembly Member, Charles Field a new law, known as the Field Act was passed on April 10, 1933 that mandated earthquake resistant construction, This lead to the 1935 version of the UBC(Universal Building Code) providing a formula for calculating lateral earthquake forces which new buildings going forward HAD to resist! What this means is that most likely in order to comply with the new at that time regulations the Miramar was built to the structural soundness requirements of its day!!
Raad Ghantous November 09, 2012 at 05:16 PM
opps sorry here is the link to the pictures >>> https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.508653189154025.120709.284523758233637&type=1

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