Historic Fox Theater for sale again
A downtown Paso Robles icon, the Fox Theater at 1436 Spring St., is on the market again. Though it has been in escrow in the past, the sales have not gone through, says local real estate agent Keith Gillis with Prime Commercial California.
Prime Commercial has had the Fox Theater on the market since Oct. 16, 2014 on behalf of the owner, John Turano of Turano, Turano and Thompson Incorporated. The building has been for sale off and on over the years. Turano has owned the property since 2001.
The building was originally constructed in 1922 and used as a VFW, Gillis said. In 1940, it was the Hi Ho Theater until it was converted to the Fox Theater in 1957. Gillis does not know when the Fox Theater stopped operating at that location, but said that the theater was the last use. CinemaTour.com reports that the theater closed in 1980. The building has since been gutted. Gillis said that it is basically a shell, just four walls. The front corners will need to be enforced, he said, and the rear wall replaced. But the beams throughout are all original.
“We’re trying to find something that adds value to the community,” Gillis said. The building could be used for a variety of uses, he said. Prime Commercial put up several renderings and floor plans showing different possibilities: theater, restaurant, nightclub, microbrewery, executive office and more. He said that it could be either one story or two.
The Paso Robles Planning Department said that conceptual designs have been developed and even shown to the city, but nothing formally submitted to the city for approval, at least in the last few years. The building has the same zoning as the business located around Downtown City Park. That zoning is general commercial use, which include restaurants, theaters and other retail. If the building includes an allowed use, it won’t need to go through a more rigorous permitting processes, such as if a third story were to be added.
In the three months that the building has been listed for sale, Gillis said that he has received a high number of calls from people interested. “I’ve been surprised at how much interest there has been in the building,” he said. He said there has been a range of people interested, including foreign investors. He said he hopes the new use fits the historic building and brings value to Paso Robles.
The Fox Theater building is listed for $490,000.