The investor group that assumed control of the Fox Theatre building will seek tenants for currently vacant storefronts and apartments and allow current businesses, including the West Side's only movie theater, to continue their operations, a Realtor close to the deal said Friday.
There were no bidders for the building at a foreclosure auction held Friday morning at the Golden State Mall in Bakersfield, meaning that the building's ownership is now transferred to a group of investors that held the mortgage on the property.
But amid fears that the building would be boarded up and abandoned, the investors have said they will operate the building, Paul Joyce, the realtor trying to facilitate the sale of the building, said Friday.
"They're going to fill the storefronts with tenants, since they have some interested parties already," Joyce said. "They also have some interested people to lease the vacant apartments as well."
Prior to today, both the building and theater were owned by Jeff Lockwood, who purchased the building in 2005. The results of the auction mean ownership of just the building changes hands.
"It's not some indescript bank somewhere that doesn't care," he said. "These people care about the community, and they're doing everything they can to continue the beauty of Taft's historic downtown."
Lockwood maintains ownership of the theater business, which is the only theater on the West Side that screens new releases. He had invested more than a million dollars toward buying and restoring the theater, but it has lost money, partially due to the bad economy.
He will continue to operate the theater until a local investor steps forward to purchase and run the business, Joyce said.
"They're looking for a local group that wants to do an LLC or non-profit wants to create an environment for the community where they can keep a local theater with movies and concerts," Joyce said. "There's a lot of opportunities to exist in a venue like this. It's a beautiful venue and there's a lot of people still very interested in putting it all together."
Copyright Report a typo or inaccuracyCopyright 2010 by TurnTo23.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.