SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Movie fans in the South Bay are cheering a decision by the San Jose City Council to grant historical status to the embattled Century 21 Theater.

The 50-year-old iconic domed theater, which sits across the street from Santana Row, has long been in the crosshairs of developers, as the site is seen as valuable land for both business and residential developments.

But by a 7-4 vote on Tuesday, the San Jose City Council voted in favor of granting it historical status. It remains one of the oldest dome-style theaters in the country.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, there were plenty who voiced their support for making the theater a city landmark. “To sacrifice this structure to demolition would be a cultural crime against the citizens of Silicon Valley,” said one longtime supporter.

One of those opposed to the historical designation was San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who said the theater is neither very old nor very historical.

“San Jose spent over $100 million preserving historic buildings,” Reed said. “We value the history, we consider the history, but not every building is historical.”

Co-owner Joyce Rainey also voiced opposition to the designation, as she said the site can be re-imagined into a development to better serve the needs of the community.

The State Historic Resources Commission has recommended the theater be designated a national historic landmark, which could make it even more difficult for developers to demolish it.

The theater closed to the public in March.


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