FRESNO (CelebrityAccess) – The city of Fresno is set to buy the Tower Theatre, putting to rest questions about the historic landmark’s future.
For over a year, the Adventure Church had been occupying the theatre for services every Sunday … and every Sunday was met with protests from those living within the Tower District, named after the iconic theater. The church had previously reached a deal to purchase the theatre in late 2020, but protests began soon after, as reported by ABC30. Tower District residents felt the church was operating in violation of current zoning restrictions. The Adventure Church had support in the form of counter-protests from conservative and religious groups, including The Proud Boys – who became known after the raids on the Capitol Building.
Adding more fodder to the fire, tenants at Sequoia Brewing which sits on the western edge of the property, asserted a legal right to buy at least their portion of the property before any sale was completed, as stipulated in their lease agreement. Sequoia’s owners sued to prevent the sale of the theatre to the church, and an appeals court agreed. In the lawsuit, they asserted proper notice of the deal wasn’t, and they argued the church and theatre’s ownership kept the sale hidden, including the purchase price of $4.8 million.
Adventure Church joined the lawsuit party – also suing the theatre’s ownership for breach of contract, but ABC30 reports the church’s purchase agreement for the property expired in March 2021.
The city of Fresno then sued to gain access to the theatre for a preservation assessment and to determine whether taking the theatre by eminent domain was necessary. The city also entered into mediation, and a tentative agreement was reached. The city will pay the appraised value of $6.5 million for the theatre and sell the Sequoia property to its owners for $1.2 million.
The Fresno City council will hold a public vote on that deal with the date TBA.