The Dalles buys historic theater

The Dalles buys historic theater

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The Granada has been for sale several times over the years.  It's in the National Historic District in the downtown core.

The ultimate resurrection of the historic Granada Theater, built in 1929 as the first place to see a talkie west of the Mississippi, has been wobbly for many years.

Three years ago, it looked like it had just the right developer in True North Productions, a Columbia Gorge tour firm. True North had planned to put up to $2 million into the theater and tie the venue in with its tour groups. But the company, which leased the property from Boring businessman Elden Snoozy, closed shop last winter after operator Cecil F. Smith said he couldn’t make the lease payments. The state Department of Consumer and Business Services, Division of Finance and Corporate Securities, says it has two open and ongoing investigations of Smith.

So after years of trying to find the right buyer for the theater, the city has bought the theater for $387,000 in a negotiated deal with a developer. Snoozy had owned the property for 10 years.

The city won’t disclose the developer or the plans because it’s not final, but city manager Nolan Young says the intent is to get the theater into the hands of individuals who can carry out a development. “We would like the theater to continue to operate as a theater,” he says. “Beyond that, we are open to anything that will increase overall commerce and traffic downtown.”

The Granada is considered a key building in the redevelopment of The Dalles historic downtown. The theater, at Federal and Second streets, is part of a downtown block that has a higher-than-average vacancy rate and badly deteriorating structures. Young says the city is negotiating for other properties in that block as part of a larger effort to revitalize the downtown.

“This block is significant because it is located in the center of downtown commercial activity and adjacent to the Washington Street underpass and within walking distance of the future marine terminal and festival area,” Young says. He says they hope to complete negotiations in the next month.

ROBIN DOUSSARD