Frank Leal’s vision came to life December 31 with an new year’s eve bash at the newly restored Granada Theatre in Morgan Hill. Leal purchased the historic building from the city of Morgan Hill in October 2015 and spent two years restoring the building for use as a 300-person capacity event venue.
The brightly lit marquee announced “It’s Showtime” on New Year’s Eve and valets and black-jacketed servers greeted guests. A photographer flashed away at festively attired guests against a step and repeat backdrop on the lobby wall.
The venue is appointed with a full bar, lobby floors and bathroom walls tiled in bianco carrara marble and stamped tin ceilings. Walls are painted a contemporary shade of gray. The simple, elegant interior belies the complexity of the structural engineering and seismic upgrades beneath, Leal said. Weston Miles Architects of Morgan Hill performed architectural services for the project.
Built in the 1950s, the Granada closed as a full-time movie theater since 2003. The Morgan Hill Redevelopment Agency purchased the property on the 17400 block of Monterey Road in 2008, but three years later California’s legislature shut down municipal redevelopment agencies.The Granada sat as a vacant eyesore for years and was threatened with demolition. The city sold the building to Leal for $294,476 and granted him $704,000 in leftover RDA bond proceeds to assist with renovation, in exchange for his agreement to invest $2 million and operate as a public event facility for the next 20 years.