Historic Theater Has Tax Troubles

Taft Fox Theater Closed For Now

A historic theater in Taft has been seized by the county for back taxes. Now the future is uncertain for the once-proud Fox Theater.

The Fox Theater in Taft opened in 1920. But it has fallen on hard times and hasn't shown a movie in 6 weeks. Now it’s shut down while the tax problems are resolved.

The theater was recently renovated to like new condition.

"One of the owners came over and invested over a million dollars in renovating it to its original glory. It's beautiful inside," said Taft Chamber of Commerce President Michael Long.

But all of that may go to waste if a tax dispute can’t be settled. A sign on the door says the business, not the property, was seized by the county to cover unpaid taxes.

"We have been in contact with business owner since November about non-payment of taxes," said Kern County Treasurer and Tax Collector Jackie Denney.

All the supplies, office furniture and even the projection equipment have been seized. And if the owner doesn't pay his taxes the county will put it all on the auction block.

"Right now it’s under seizure, so therefore it cannot be removed but at some point down the road if the taxes are not paid we will then set it for sale and we will auction off the equipment," Denney said.

And on top of all that, the property itself is swimming in five years worth of delinquent taxes. The county said it is working on payment plans for those taxes but may end up selling the theater, too.

“The theater has always been a part of the life of the community," Long said.

The Fox is the only place in town to see a movie and it's an anchor for Taft’s downtown.

"Taft is at the beginning of revitalizing its downtown and having a theater is very important to bringing people. It’s an attraction," Long said.

If you are looking for a deal the owners have put the Taft Fox Theater up for sale. For $750,000 you get the newly renovated theater with three screens. The price also includes four newly remodeled apartments and 5 retail sites that are attached to the theater.

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