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published on February 12, 2021 - 3:09 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Over $20,000 has been raised in a period of less than 24 hours toward halting the sale of Fresno’s historic Tower Theatre to a church.

Organized by Tyler Mackey, executive director of the Tower District Marketing Committee, and urban planner Annalisa Perea, the “Save the Tower Theatre Legal Fund” was set up on GoFundMe to pay for a legal fund so businesses in the Tower District can challenge the sale.

In their GoFundMe, Mackey and Perea argue that Adventure Community Church would violate Fresno’s zoning and denies the right of first refusal held in the lease of Sequoia Brewing Co.

“Sequoia Brewing Company and other local small businesses are seeking to have their legal rights recognized and be given the opportunity to purchase the Tower Theatre and complex, maintain its current land use and zoning, and safeguard the entire district from any possible rezone and resulting economic damages,” the GoFundMe stated.

The fund received a further boost from Fresno native actress Audra McDonald, who took to social media to oppose the sale and also contributed $1,000, according to a GoFundMe spokesperson.

“I practically spent every day of my childhood across the street from this theater,” McDonald wrote on Twitter. “It holds a special place in my heart and it must be saved.”

McDonald was referring to an earlier statement by comedian Sarah Silverman, whom she was retweeting, in which she rallied support to buy up Tower Theatre.

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