Home Biz 24-680 Real Estate Developer Runs The Numbers, Decides Against Lafayette’s Park Theater Purchase

Developer Runs The Numbers, Decides Against Lafayette’s Park Theater Purchase

Photo: File

From the City of Lafayette: 

LAFAYETTE, CALIF., Aug. 29, 2018—A developer previously interested in purchasing Lafayette’s Park Theater, Madison Park Financial, informed the City late Monday that it has decided not to move forward with the purchase of the theater and instead focus on a smaller scale project on a property it owns in downtown Lafayette.

In an email to the City of Lafayette, Simon Chen, Madison Park’s Chief Financial Officer, said that there were several factors that led the developer to decide against the purchase and a “density transfer” that was designed to possibly provide a method for saving the historic theater, which was built in 1941. The City proposed the density transfer – essentially trading allowable zoned housing units to be moved from one location to another – as a means to preserve the Park Theater, which has been shuttered for the past 18 years (… though used over the years for the occasional signage prank, anniversary message or prom invitation. Ed.).


The scale of any development on its property would be a significant issue given the feedback from both the community and City Council, Madison Park noted. The community’s expectations, the developer wrote, would result in the additional density no longer being accretive, and that this would present an additional financial hurdle to overcome.

The developer also noted that there was tremendous enthusiasm from the City Council and the community in tackling the ongoing cost of running a theater, which, it said, was very encouraging. However, because scale is a major issue, Madison Park will revisit a smaller project on its property over the coming months.

Lafayette’s City Council has placed the matter on the agenda for its September 10 meeting and will discuss options for the future of the Park Theater then. Members of the public are invited to attend the meeting and provide comment to the Council.


  1. A professional real estate investor does an objective financial analysis and drew this conclusion. It makes what Moraga just did with the Rheem Theater look like the amateur hour.

  2. I’ve lived in Lafayette over 20 years and I just don’t get the attachment to this theater. For heavens sake its been shuttered and an eyesore for 18 years. We have older theaters with more character that are being “saved” in Moraga and Orinda that folks can enjoy. Let’s move on and replace the theater with something nice.

    • “Let’s move on and replace the theater with something nice.” – What would you like to see go in down there, Brian?

      • I would like to see a nice small 2 story apartment complex that mixes well with the area. But basically, anything nice and clean that fits the look of the neighborhood. I’m not picky if its not oversized and sucking up parking.

    • Two things: 1) Apparently you never saw a movie there? 2) 20 years? I have plant that is 20 years old. You havn’t been around long enough to “understand”. Lafayette has that nice town feel because it has been somewhat preserved! I saw alot of movies there in the 50’s and 60’s. Watch out or you’ll turn into another WC or PH !!!

    • Fentons would be awesome! But I don’t know if Lafayette can sustain another restaurant, even one with such a great theme.

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