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Lorenzo Theater Foundation

Changes to theatre reported 'harmful'

Architects Tell County Renovations Will Hurt Lorenzo Character

The Daily Review
Thursday October 28, 1999
By Carol E. Robinson -- Staff Writer

Hayward -- Whether the Lorenzo Theatre is converted into an animal clinic, office or restuarant, the building's renovations would hurt its historic character, architects said Wednesday.

Berkeley historical architects Michael Corbett and Mary Hardy presented their findings to Alameda County Zoning Administrator Darryl Gray. The planning official is trying to decide if Fremont veterinarian Dharam Salwan should proceed with plans to convert the theater lobby into an animal clinic.

Salwan did not attend the planning hearing and could not be reached for comment.

Corbett and Hardy said they need to see more detailed plans before they can make more definite findings. Some of the issues include repairing the theater roof and ventilating the indoor murals, and protecting the restrooms original fixtures.

Nancy Van Huffel, administrator of the San Lorenzo Village Homes Association, asked what would happen to the murals if there not aired out. "The moisture will continue through the wall and pop off the painted surface," Hardy answered.

Larry Leal, founder of the Lorenzo Theater Foundation, told Gray the Lorenzo Theatre is a significant architectural resource for Alameda County. The nonprofit community organization is trying to save the theater and restore it as a visual and performing arts venue.

"We need to make sure the conditional use permit addresses those issues and protects those (historic) features," Leal told the zoning administrator.

Gray said Salwan needs to understand that the animal clinic he hopes to build for his veterinarian son Sandeep Salwan would be an interim use. The long-term goal is to restore the 52-year-old art deco building into a theatre.

"If the applicant cannot agree to the conditions of the use permit, then this use permit cannot be granted," Gray said.

To give Salwan and his architect Peter Jacobsohn time to prepare detailed plans, Gray continued the issue to Nov. 17.

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