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Live Nation is purchasing historic Observatory North Park theatre

The Observatory North Park sold to Live Nation.
Photo credit:
SDPIX

Entertainment production giant Live Nation is closing the deal on the purchase of the 1,100 seat Observatory North Park and has already purchased the slightly smaller Observatory Orange County in Santa Ana. Live Nation currently has a contract to book artists at both locations. 

The theaters' former owners, Observatory LLC, are based in Orange County and have owned the North Park location since 2015. 

The 32,000 square foot theater on University Avenue has become a popular place for LGBT entertainment. It has presented the annual drag fundraising competition Tantrums & Tiaras as well as the famous FilmOut San Diego LGBT Film Festival. 

Last year the Observatory North Park held 200 concerts out of 740 that Live Nation produced in Southern California. The rest took place at the Orange County theater and its smaller sister venue; Constellation Room.

Live Nation's president of Clubs and Theater division Ron Bension says the company is happy to be attached to the venues.

"We are proud to bring both of these popular music halls into our family of great venues throughout Southern California and the country," Bension said in a statement. “Both observatories have a strong fan base in their respective markets and offer great musical experiences. We’re looking forward to continuing that tradition."

Observatory managing partner, Courtney Dubar, says she's also pleased with the acquisitions, “Great buildings with great fan bases in two extraordinary musical markets. They’re in good hands."

Live Nation is becoming a recognizable presence in San Diego. They own and operate the North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre and have exclusive booking contracts with Viejas Arena at Aztec Bowl and SDSU’s Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre.

They are also gearing up to re-open El Cajon’s East County Performing Arts Center this fall, which has undergone an $8 million renovation. 

The San Diego Observatory will reportedly keep their co-booking relationships with independent venues Casbah and the Belly Up.

The nearly 100-year-old Observatory North Park originally had only 731 seats and was aptly called the North Park Theatre. It has seen many owners in the past several years including the now-defunct Lyric Opera San Diego, and more recently the Verant Group; a San Diego bar and restaurant developer. That company sold the building to SD Observatory LLC in 2015.

The building is also attached to a Starbucks and West Coast Tavern, a full-service bar and restaurant.