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Historic theater in The Dalles gets new future

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

GranadaTheater.jpg

THE DALLES An important piece of the past and a key building in the redevelopment of The Dalles historic downtown finally has a new owner and a new future.

True North Productions, a 2-year-old company based in The Dalles, bought the lovely Moorish style Granada Theater on Second Street for $650,000 in late July. The new owners plan to put between $1.5 million and $2 million into the 1929 theater, built when silent films were still the rage, and make it a showplace venue for acoustic music.

The theater, which is in the National Historic District, is “tired and needs a lot of work,” says Buz Smith of True North Productions. True North runs group tours of the Columbia Gorge and Smith says tying in the tours to the theater was key in making the purchase pencil out. “Restoring this theater and keeping it going is not sustainable with its current demographics and population base,” Smith says. “Linking the tours to events at the Granada helps support the theater.”

Dan Durow, The Dalles’ community development director, says that the city had been trying for years to find a buyer who could create enough revenue to sustain the maintenance on the theater. The city used urban renewable money to rebuild the roof, and True North plans a gut rehab on the building that will maintain its historic integrity. Smith says the theater will be open for the tours and small events beginning in October as rehab work begins.  

ROBIN DOUSSARD


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