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Historic Alex Theatre in Glendale may close

March 25, 2012 |  7:49 am

Alex Theatre in Glendale

The state's elimination of local redevelopment agencies could lead to the closure of the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale.

Planned improvements at the theater are already on hold, according to Glendale Arts, the nonprofit group that operates it.

Glendale Arts said it had postponed upgrades until it determined whether transfer of the venue's ownership from the now-defunct redevelopment agency to the city was legal. If not, the theater could be sold as an agency asset.

In February, a new law took effect shutting down California's roughly 400 redevelopment agencies and redirecting the property tax money they run on to the state, counties and school districts. Glendale's agency was behind such start-up projects as the Americana at Brand and Disney's Creative Campus, but it had also taken over and revamped the Alex Theatre.

In a defensive move, officials shifted ownership of the historic landmark from the redevelopment agency to the city. But it's possible that deal could be undone, and in a report to the City Council last week, city officials warned, "There are more questions and uncertainties than clear answers."

The Glendale Redevelopment Agency used to provide $415,000 a year for operation of the theater. In August, the City Council agreed to pay $3.9 million for new dressing and meeting rooms, a loading dock and other improvements.

Meanwhile, Glendale Arts is exploring funding options for buying the theater if it goes up for sale, said Interim Chief Executive Elissa Glickman. "We are so committed to managing the theater that if the option came up, we want first dibs," she said.

The shutdown of the redevelopment agency has also affected Glendale Arts' ability to get grant funding. The nonprofit hopes that increased theater rentals would help replace the annual redevelopment subsidy.


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Photo: The marquee and the courtyard at the Alex Theatre in Glendale. Credit: Richard Hartog / Los Angeles Times.