A man changes the marquee of the Tower Theatre, a Tower District landmark that will be purchased by the City of Fresno. Photo by Peter Maiden

Fresno to Buy Tower Theatre for $6.5 Million

A man changes the marquee of the Tower Theatre, a Tower District landmark that will be purchased by the City of Fresno. Photo by Peter Maiden

On April 21, the Fresno City Council voted 4-3 to buy the iconic Tower Theatre. Council Members Esmeralda Soria, Miguel Arias, Tyler Maxwell and Nelson Esparza voted “yes,” whereas Mike Karbassi, Luis Chavez and Garry Bredefeld voted “no.” But the controversy and the legal battles will continue.

In September 2020, the owner of the Tower Theatre decided to sell the theater to Adventure Church, which sparked protests from community members, particularly the LGBTQ+ community, which considered the move a direct hit against them. The theater is located in the LGBTQ+-friendly Tower District. Residents expressed concern that Adventure Church is not LGBTQ-frendly and that such a purchase would affect the lifestyle of the neighborhood. Area merchants also expressed concern.

Sequoia Brewing filed a lawsuit against Adventure Church over its attempted purchase, exercising a right in its rental agreement to buy its portion of the property.

The City’s attorneys say the deal between Adventure Church and the owners of the Tower expired, paving the way for the City’s purchase.

Now, the church has threatened the City with a lawsuit.  

Jaguar Bennett, one of the leaders of the “Save the Tower Theatre” movement, expressed satisfaction with the news of the City getting involved.

  • The Community Alliance is a monthly newspaper that has been published in Fresno, California, since 1996. The purpose of the newspaper is to help build a progressive movement for social and economic justice.

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