Crest Theatre’s preservation behind purchase
A desire to protect the historic Crest Theatre helped push someone to buy it last week.
Bob Emerick, a wastewater treatment engineer with Stantec Consulting Services in Rocklin, said a love of historic architecture and Sacramento's loss of the Alhambra Theatre helped motivate him to buy the theatre complex for nearly $2.8 million Wednesday. The asking price was $3.12 million.
The 41-year-old said he's too young to have really experienced the Alhambra, which was demolished in the 1970s to make way for a supermarket.
But he heard stories about how grand the Alhambra was from his parents and grandparents. Those stories greatly influenced him to act when he learned the Crest was up for sale last summer.
"It just leaves an impression that these old buildings need someone to watch after them," he said. "I love the Crest Theatre. It's a beautiful venue."
His grandparents once lived behind Tower Theatre. Emerick, who was born in Sacramento, also looked into buying that theater but realized he couldn't buy both. Buying the 61-year-old Crest made more sense because it was restored recently, he said.
Emerick developed a love for historic architecture when he restored an old house in Oak Park while he was a grad student in engineering at UC Davis.
He said he is exploring the possibility of bringing more live music events to the Crest now. Otherwise, the Crest will continue operating nearly seamlessly after he bought a complex that measures about 38,000 square feet. The complex includes three restaurants, plus office and retail space.
Emerick bought the property from the Briggs-McClatchy family. Colliers International brokers Erik Neese and Heath Charamuga handled the deal.
The Crest's current operators – Sid Garcia-Heberger and her husband, Bill Heberger, Andy Field and Gary Schroeder – will continue running the theater. They show movies and rent the theater to individuals and organizations who wants to do shows.
The Briggs-McClatchy family owned the theater and adjacent property for nearly 100 years. Dr. Briggs, who owned a physician's building at 10th and K streets, bought the 1013 K St. property in 1910. Briggs married a McClatchy, whose family operated The McClatchy Company and The Sacramento Bee.
He leased it to vaudeville pioneer John Considine and New York politician Tim Sullivan, and in 1913, they completed the Empress Theatre. The Empress offered live vaudeville with seating for about 1,800.
The Empress was replaced by the Hippodrome, which also brought vaudeville performers to Sacramento before being turned into a movie theater in the late 1920s.
The Hippodrome was gutted, and the Crest was built within its walls. The Crest opened Oct. 6, 1949.
Emerick owns one other commercial building – an office building in Reno.
The change in the theater's ownership follows other new development on K Street Mall. Two bars and a pizza restaurant opened across the street from the Crest last month, and a restaurant and tequila bar is expected to open at 12th and K next month.
Emerick said he wants to bring more live entertainment to the Crest to help encourage K Street's evolution.
"It's really a venue for Sacramento," he said. "As all of K Street evolves to become more of an entertainment district, all of the tenants will respond accordingly."
Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.