The Port Theater in Corona del Mar, which appeared primed for the wrecking ball a few months ago, may have a new lease on life, as the city is in discussions with architects who plan to convert the old theater into an office building.
Last week, officials from the Newport Beach Planning Department met with members of Laidlaw Schultz Architects to discuss renovating the theater that closed nine years ago. The Port, which opened in 1950 and later functioned as an art-house cinema, closed its doors in 1998 and looked to be finished when its then-owner obtained a city permit to demolish it in March.
The building’s new owner, however, has an interest in maintaining the Port as a visual landmark of Pacific Coast Highway — even though its days as a theater may be through. The proposal voiced to the city last week involved retaining the building’s exterior, converting the ground floor into a parking garage and turning the rest into office space, storage and a reception area.