San Diego-Based Drive-In Movie Theater In Process Of Selling To Los Angeles Developer, Likely To Close Later This Year

May 6, 2023

San Diego's historic Santee Drive-In, which opened in 1958 and is one of the few open-air drive-in movie theaters still operating in the U.S., is in the process of being sold to a Los Angeles-based developer and will likely close later this year.

Los Angeles-based development company, North Palisades Partners, is currently in escrow on the purchase of the Santee Drive-In Theatre in East San Diego County. Although several bureaucratic hurdles remain before any plan approvals, the company intends to build a 291,000-square foot industrial building at the 13.5-acre site. The sale is expected to go before the City Council in the next six months. The property is currently owned by Forte Family Limited Partnership.

There is currently no information available about plans to close the historic drive-in theater, although it is believed it will shutter once the sale is finalized. The property has two movie screens and over 1,000 car spots. On the weekends, it is used to host the Santee Swap Meet. 

The Santee Drive-In is one of two drive-in movie theaters located in San Diego County. The South Bay Drive-In Theater, also opened in 1958, is located outside of Imperial Beach off the I-5 Freeway in South San Diego County. There are approximately 321 drive-in movie theaters remaining in the United States. 

Santee Drive-In is located at 10990 Woodside Avenue in San Diego's Santee community. For more information, visit