The Alameda Theater was designed in 1947 and completed in 1949 as a Spanish-language vaudeville house. The structure itself is an anachronism in theatre design since vaudeville houses were not being built in the 1940s. It is a very late Art Deco/Moderne Style structure built to seat 2,400 people. This was at a time when movie houses were becoming smaller and less ornate.
The Alameda was designed so that it could show the most modern Spanish movies and continue the tradition of Hispanic vaudeville, which lasted for another 20 years in Mexico and the Southwest. Spanish-language vaudeville continued into the 1960s during which time the theatre operated successfully until the 1970s when it was divided into a three-theater complex for Spanish-language cinema.
The City of San Antonio purchased the Casa de Mexico International Building (adjoining office building) and the 2,400-seat theatre to preserve it and leased the theater to Centro Alameda, Inc. The Centro Alameda, Inc. organization has been charged with the rehabilitation/restoration of the office building, which opened September 2000, and the theater (a $15 million rehabilitation of the theater balcony, new stage house and support areas).
Currently, the Alameda Theater’s front façade, canopy neon lights and the 64-foot high blade sign have been restored to their original condition. The Master Plan for the theatre was completed in 1996. Schematic Drawings have been completed and fundraising continues at this time.
Expected completion date is Fall 2006 for total renovation of the theater into a 2,200-seat performing arts facility with full trapped-stage, 99 line sets and wing space capable of handling Grand Opera. A partnership with The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC has been negotiated for program sharing which requires the stage, lighting and sound systems to meet Kennedy Center standards.
February 11, 2016