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Teatro ZinZanni May Backflip Into A New Home on SF's Waterfront

The circus-meets-dinner theater could be the anchor tenant of a proposed hotel project.


Teatro ZinZanni, the fusion of circus and dinner theater that ran in a giant tent on the Embaracadero for 11 years, may be returning to SF. Shuttered in 2011 to make way for the America's Cup and cruise-ship terminal at Pier 29, the show was supposed to reconvene in an unused parking lot at Broadway and Embarcadero. Those plans fell through, and ZinZanni continues to be a wandering show, having parked it in the likes of Costa Mesa and Seattle since getting the boot. But according to the Chron, ZinZanni may finally return to SF, as part of a planned mixed-use development in the exact same spot.

A partnership between ZinZanni and developer Kenwood Investments, the proposed project would comprise a 175-room hotel, a small park, and a glass gazebo that would house ZinZanni's iconic tent. There would be kitchen space for the circus' culinary arm, and some of the hotel (which would be designed to match the troupe's whimsical aesthetic) would be set aside as affordable housing for performers and staff. Though the neighborhood voted down a hotel on the site back in 2005, saying it would be too tall, the planned ZinZanni hotel would be an acceptable four stories, compliant with the area's 40-foot zoning laws. Residents are also excited about the added foot traffic it would create at night in the often deserted-feeling area.

Nonetheless, given the lack of traction he's had so far in SF, ZinZanni president Norm Langill says he's evaluating potential sites in other cities. "Unless we're able to move quickly, we may lose them," says Kenwood's CEO. There's no timeline as of yet on when the ZinZanni hotel might arrive if approved, but we'll keep you posted.