Written by Frank Lopez
Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer is putting a different offer on the table regarding the sale of The Tower Theatre to Adventure Church.
In a letter to Senior Pastor of Adventure Church Anthony Flores, Dyer offered the church a long-term license agreement with the City of Fresno for the use of the Downtown Fresno Memorial Auditorium at 2425 Fresno St.
The agreement would be for 10 years and depending on the City Manager’s approval, an option for another 10 years.
Dyer states that the church would have use for the facility all day on Sundays and Wednesday evenings.
“The City of Fresno will make necessary renovations to the Memorial Auditorium to make it a safe and healthy environment. We will also maintain the facility on a regular basis,” Dyer said in the letter.
The monthly rent would be $2,000 for the first five years; $2,250 for years six through 10, $2,500 for years 11 through 15, and $2,750 for years 16 through 20.
The monthly rent will include gas, electricity, water and sewer service.
Earlier in January it was announced that the sale of the Tower Theater was in escrow with Adventure Church. The announcement was met with concerns from the city in regards to zoning laws and ordinances, and from the public on how it could affect businesses and the nightlife in the area.
The license agreement would be conditioned on the church not purchasing the Tower Theatre and not holding its services there once they are able to use the auditorium.
Officials with Adventure Church have indicated they intend to follow through with the purchase of Tower Theatre, where they have held services since March 2020.
They have also threatened litigation against the city, which has barred them from hosting services at Tower Theatre because of zoning issues.
“I know this has been a difficult time for you and your congregation and that you never anticipated that the purchase of the Tower Theater would create this kind of division within our community,” Dyer said. “I look forward to working with you to resolve this issue and I hope to be invited to join you and your congregation at your first Fresno Memorial Auditorium service.”
In a press release posted on Adventure Church’s Facebook page, Flores said the church is ready to take the matter of the theater sale to court if necessary.
“This is the culmination of maneuvers the city has made to interfere with the private sale of the property to Adventure Church, who has done their due diligence to purchase the building lawfully and with intentions to preserve the building’s intended use and culture,” the press release said. “They city’s deliberate interference with the existing purchase contracts are a violation of the law (Tortious Interference) and is discriminatory.
It feels a bit ironic that we are being targeted and discriminated against for our constitutionally protected rights not only by people themselves fight for equality but also by our local government,” Flores said.