OCEANSIDE — City Council unanimously OK’d a request for proposal for the sale or lease of the city-owned Sunshine Brooks Theater on Feb. 23.
The sale will be open to all interested parties and will carry the clause that the site continue to be used as a community theater. The city has already received a request to purchase the theater located at 217 N. Coast Highway 101.
“It’s important to see what options there are,” Councilwoman Esther Sanchez said.
Sale of the property will bring the city $1.5 million to $2.5 million.
The New Vision Theater Company has run a community theater at the site for the past six years. For the first five years the theater company had a contract agreement with the city to run a community theater.
Then the agreement was extended for one year and the theater company additionally rented the business space adjacent to the theater at 219 N. Coast Highway 101 to hold classes, workshops and open mic nights.
The city continues to have the option to lease the theater and adjacent business space. The business space alone currently leases for $14,400 annually. A lease gives the city greater control over the use of the property.
The city’s priority, however, is to generate revenue. Presently New Vision Theater Company is not generating a profit. All proceeds are put back into theater operations.
“We don’t make any profits here,” John Kalb, New Vision Theater Company owner, said. “Everything gets poured back in here. We feel very strongly about supporting the arts.”
Theater performances and concerts keep the community theater busy all year. “We have something going on in the theater 150 days a year on the main stage and have rehearsals in between time,” Kalb said. “It’s a busy place.”
“We’d love to stay here,” Kalb said. “We’ve given a lot of opportunity to lots of artists of every genre at this point. Stuff the community needs.”
Kalb said he is interested in teaming with a backer to make a bid on the property and has talked with at least one interested investor. A financial backer would allow the theater company to make needed upgrades to the theater and further its use as a music venue. “We do intend to put in a bid,” Kalb said. “We have invested six years of time and effort to get it to what it is.”