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San Francisco, CA: Alhambra Theater Sees New Life as a Fitness Center

Posted on Saturday, November 26th, 2011 and updated on Monday, January 23rd, 2012 1:54 PM

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The San Francisco Chronicle has a story about the new life that the historic Alhambra Theater has as a fitness center:

Through the haze of a good sweat, it's easy to imagine the Alhambra Theatre building's previous life as one of the city's most beautiful movie palaces.

The current tenant, Crunch Fitness, has modified its signs to fit the marquee, but customers doing sit-ups on the main floor can still look up at the theater's ornate circular ceiling art. "Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby" plays on the big screen with subtitles, while a handful of customers ride treadmills and exercise bikes on what used to be the theater's balcony.

Click the Read link below to view the full article and some photos of the interior of the theater and its new use.

It's hard to judge without actually seeing it in person, but I have mixed emotions about a historic theater being used to show movies only as a backdrop for people on treadmills, taking shots at punching bags, and lifting weights. It sounds as though the architectural elements of the theater have been preserved and even restored, so that's better than meeting their demise at the business end of a wrecking ball, but it still feels wrong. Something akin to turning a cathedral into a grocery store, and leaving all the statues in place.

What Do You Think?

Have you been to Crunch Fitness, formerly the Alhambra Theater? Is it as odd as it sounds to be in such an environment, or is it kind of cool, and a relief that the theater wasn't razed and replaced with a soul-less cinder-block tribute to nothingness?

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