Teatro ZinZanni, hotel make plans for new waterfront home

Plans for a dinner theater, hotel and public park are moving forward after the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to allow Teatro ZinZanni to be the sole-source bidder on a waterfront site.

In a 11-0 vote, the city’s supervisors voted Tuesday to allow dinner theater company Teatro ZinZanni — to be the only project up for consideration for Seawall Lots 3243 and 324 at The Embarcadero and Broadway Street.

Now, Teatro ZinZanni, which had an 11-year run on the waterfront until it was displaced in 2011 by the Port’s development of the America’s Cup site, can move forward with its plan to develop a dinner theater space and a 40-foot hotel with between 180 and 200 rooms, as well as a privately-funded public park of about 7,500 square feet.

It has partnered with Kenwood Investments to finance the project and will operate under the partnership name of TZK Broadway in developing the site.

The sole-source waiver was a major hurdle for the site to overcome, said Kenwood Investments’ Darius Anderson. However, the project will face more regulatory hurdles as it enters the entitlement and environmental review process, which can last for months.

The architect for the site is firm Hornberger + Worstell, and the TZK Broadway team will choose its other partners, including a hotel operator, soon, Anderson said.

With the sole-source waiver approved by the Board of Supervisors, the Teatro ZinZanni team gets more certainty in the building process and cuts roughly nine months off the approvals process, Anderson said. The decision was largely due to major support for the project, Anderson added.

“We are supportive of what they are trying to do,” said Jim Cunningham of the Barbary Coast Neighborhood Association.

The neighborhood group will continue working with the team as they design the site, but Cunningham said the preliminary idea for the site is appealing.

“We have enough trouble trying to get the arts to stay in San Francisco,” Cunningham said, adding “It’ll be good to have a nice, small hotel there.”

There was very little opposition to Teatro ZinZanni’s plan.

“No one came out formally opposed,” Anderson said. Part of the appeal comes from the addition of hotel rooms — which are greatly needed in San Francisco — and to support the arts in the city.

That idea came when Teatro ZinZanni partnered with Kenwood Investments.

The theater was originally was offered a 10-year lease on the land, but it wasn’t feasible for it to invest and build a permanent structure for a temporary use, and neighbors disliked the aesthetics of a temporary building. It teamed up with Kenwood Investments, which had helped Teatro ZinZanni get its original spot on the Embarcadero.

“Now we’re using the hotel rooms to help subsidize the theater, which is a huge cultural asset and giving great jobs to some of world’s greatest performing artists — many in our own backyard — and many from around the country and the world,” Anderson said.


Find the story at the San Francisco Business Times