Theater saved from destruction

Posted: Monday, December 18, 2006

ANCHORAGE - The historic 4th Avenue Theatre in Anchorage is facing a brighter future instead of the wrecking ball.

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The city has worked out a deal with several other entities to buy, renovate and rent out the opulent 60-year-old downtown building.

The transaction, which still must be approved by the Anchorage Assembly, would involve the Rasmuson Foundation - a charitable organization - Wells Fargo Community Development Corp., the city and the building's current owner, Robert Gottstein, the parties announced Friday. No tax money would be involved, city officials said.

The city wants to wrap up the deal by March 31. It would take possession of the building before that time to begin renovations and rentals.

"I'm joyfully stunned," said Jane Angvik, a member of a group working to preserve the theater, which was designed in the art moderne style by the architect of Hollywood's famed Pantages Theatre.

Plans call for purchasing the Anchorage theater by a newly created corporation for $3.4 million. Renovations are estimated to cost $1.75 million.

The theater, completed in 1947, features a vertical neon marquee and its interior is highlighted by Italian marble, fluted walnut and murals of Alaska wildlife, industries and Mount McKinley.

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