La Jolla entrepreneur to open movie theaters at Liberty Station in Point Loma/San Diego


The NTC Foundation announced the signing of a lease agreement with La Jolla-based Backlot Hospitality, run by Adolfo Fastlicht, to open a new events/art/film/food experience called TheLOT/Liberty Station. It will be located at the former Luce Auditorium at the NTC Arts & Culture District, between Rosecrans Street and Truxtun Road in Point Loma.

Set to open in late autumn, renovations will begin in April. Six intimate cinemas will provide seating for 50-100 people, and a new outdoor covered lounge for dining and socializing will overlook Luce Court. Events and art will be an integral part of the offering. A similar project is underway in downtown La Jolla on Fay Avenue.

Named after Navy War College founder Stephen Bleeker Luce, the original 20,000–square-foot Luce Auditorium opened in 1941, with 2,200 seats, to screen Navy recruit training films and general release films. During World War II, stars like Bob Hope and Tommy Dorsey and his Orchestra performed. Orchestra leader Kay Kyser brought his “College of Musical Knowledge” show to Luce Auditorium in 1942 to entertain recruits at the Naval Training Center. Dormant since the base closure in 1997, the building recently underwent a Community Needs Assessment and Operating Studies by the NTC Foundation to determine if a performance venue was viable.

“What we’re creating with TheLOT/Liberty Station is not just cookie-cutter cinema,” said Fastlicht. “We’re launching a concept and a new experience in a perfect location that will become a community hub.”

Backlot Hospitality has engaged notable restaurateur and James Beard nominee for Restaurateur of the Year, Elizabeth Blau, as the consultant to helm the food and drink offerings at all TheLOT locations.

With the impending opening of TheLOT/ Liberty Station and the nearby Liberty Public Market, as well as several new restaurants, Liberty Station is fast becoming the vibrant destination visionaries dreamt about when the former Naval Training Center revitalization project began more than 20 years ago.

First-run blockbusters will be screened, as well as art and foreign films. SMS Architects helmed the architecture; Dempsey Construction will oversee the renovation.