Balboa Theatre

Project Management

Project Type:
Historic Theater Renovation

San Diego, California

70,000 SF, 1,250 seats

The Balboa Theatre, built in 1924 in San Diego, CA, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The total renovation transformed the Balboa Theatre into a multi-purpose performing arts center for cultural, commercial, community, corporate and conventional usage. The 1,250-seat theatre serves as a venue for opera, ballet and off-Broadway productions.

As Project Director, Rick Pfannenstiel led the team to clarify the scope as determined by the original $11M budget. He developed a structure to work efficiently with the multiple stakeholders, which clearly identified their visions. This helped stakeholders determine the resources needed and illustrated how the project would look and function at various funding levels. To save time and money, Rick led the team through an in-depth discovery phase to mitigate issues prior to design. He developed procurement guidelines to facilitate competitive bids for specialty packages and attract the expertise of specialty contractors for abatement and lighting. This strategic and structured approach protected the agreed upon scope of the project and ensured its high quality.

Challenges Met

The Project had no steering committee and more than seventy unique stakeholders who wanted the historic theatre to be all things to all people at a budget not adequate to support that vision. Our challenge as the Owner’s Advocate was to understand their desires and develop a workable process that defined the project in realistic budgetary terms. We presented alternative design and construction scenarios to clarify the scope and developed a structure to engage and enfranchise stakeholders and deliver a revitalized theater that met their expectations.