MOORPARK AGENCY WILL BUY THEATER.
MOORPARK - The city's Redevelopment Agency has agreed to purchase the historic Theater on High Street for $1.25 million, ending months of negotiations and speculation about the future of the landmark.
The sale of the property requires owner Larry Janss of the Thousand Oaks-based Lawrence Janss Co. to clear a lien from the title. That issue is expected to be resolved and the sale should be finalized by Aug. 1, officials said.
``It's a great joy to turn it over to the city who has the resources and vision to pick up the baton,'' Janss said. ``It's a price we were satisfied with.
``The theater was on its last legs. I had fun bringing it back from the brink and transforming it into a big beautiful theater.''
The theater, at 45 High Street in the heart of Moorpark, was built in 1927 and has suffered from abandonment, seismic damage and deterioration.
As part of its effort to revitalize downtown, the city agreed to operate the theater, which was restored by Janss. Officials said a functioning theater is vital for the economic viability of surrounding businesses.
``It is a linchpin for the reconstruction of High Street,'' said City Councilman Clint Harper. ``This is the first performing arts center for the city of Moorpark. We're now up there with Simi Valley.
``We're just getting started. Everybody agrees we're a large enough community to properly support the performing arts.''
In 2001, Janss bought the city's only performing arts venue for $275,000. The 300-seat theater, which was in foreclosure, was reopened in 2003.
Janss said he spent $900,000 of his own money, plus $750,000 in Redevelopment Agency loans, to restore the aging facility.
The theater has staged films, plays and concerts. The public ownership means the landmark will be saved for community use.
Moorpark resident Ralph Mauriello formed the High Street Theater Foundation, a nonprofit organization, after Janss announced his intention to sell the property to a church at one point.
Janss has said in the past that he decided to sell the theater because he was losing money on it and the business was not doing well.
The foundation's objective was to preserve the theater. And members have been successful at scheduling several acts, including melodramas and the current production of ``Man of La Mancha.''
``The foundation was formed for the primary purpose of saving the theater for the performing arts,'' Mauriello said. ``We've achieved that goal. The next step is to do the things we promised to do: continue to bring melodramas, musicals, concerts to the theater.''
Before the foundation's efforts, Mauriello said the theater had not seen any business for more than a year.
``Man of La Mancha'' will end its monthlong run Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604
|Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback|
|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jul 24, 2005|
|Previous Article:||MUSIC FANS FROM ALL OVER ARE HAILING THE BLUEZ BOYZ SOUND.|
|Next Article:||CITY PLANS MAMMOTH PROMOTION ICE AGE FOSSIL WILL BE USED FOR EDUCATION, CIVIC PRIDE.|