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Press Releases > May 22, 1999
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Lorenzo Theater Foundation

San Lorenzans Rally Around Theatre

The Daily Review
Saturday May 22, 1999
By Carol E. Robinson - STAFF WRITER

SAN LORENZO -- The prospective buyer of the Lorenzo Theatre says he is considering plans to convert the Hesperian Boulevard property into a veterinary clinic and senior housing.

The idea has galvanized San Lorenzo residents, who want to restore the 52-year-old building to its glory as a film house and stage theatre. Fremont veterinarian Dr. Dharam Salwan plans to bring his animal clinic proposal to the Alameda County zoning administrator June 9, said Nancy Van Huffel, administrator of the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association, during an association meeting Thursday night.

Shortly before the homes association meeting, Salwan met with association board members and representatives of the Lorenzo Theater Association, which wants to save the theater. Van Huffel announced Salwan's intentions to an audience of about 60 people at the board meeting.

"We need to line up a community meeting," Van Huffel said. "It's an important issue, and we don't want to let it fly by and have no input at all."

Salwan confirmed Friday that he is looking into converting 3,900 of the theater's 13,000 square feet into an animal clinic. But he wants to keep the integrity of the art-deco building.

"I love the community," Salwan said. "I love people. But I can't run this as a theater. There are no chairs. They took out all the chairs. There's no electricity. It's been disconnected for a long, long time."

Larry Leal, founder of the Lorenzo Theater Association, urged residents to contact county Zoning Administrator L. Darryl Gray. "Inundate him with letters," Leal said. "Do you want another animal hospital with a senior facility in the back?"

Homes association board member Dorothy Partridge said in defense of Salwan, "He is willing to work with us. "He's open. He's flexible," Partridge said. "We need to express our ideas, but we need to do it in a polite manner."

In related business, the association's board voted 4 to 0 to propose to the Alameda County Parks, Recreation and Historical Commission that the art-deco Lorenzo Theatre be designated a county historical landmark.

Leal also announced that earlier this week he submitted articles of incorporation and bylaws to the California Secretary of State and Franchise Tax Board so the Lorenzo Theater Association can become a nonprofit foundation.

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