Business · Fresno

Tower Theatre sale remains blocked as appellate court seeks answers

Despite a legal victory for Tower Theatre owner Lawrence Abbate one month ago, the sale of the historic theater to Adventure Church has been halted once again. 

On July 7, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire ruled to expunge the lis pendens on the Tower Theatre property that was filed by tenant Sequoia Brewing in an effort to halt the sale. 

At that point, it looked like Abbate had cleared all legal hurdles to move through with the sale of the theater. 

But Sequoia Brewing filed an appeal on July 27, and on Thursday the California 5th District Court of Appeal put a stop on the expunge ruling, freezing the process until the appeal is sorted out. 

Abbate has 30 days to file a response to the court, per the appeal ruling. 

The court has directed Abbate to address two key issues:

  • Abbate offered Sequoia Brewing a $1.268 million price to purchase the building that it currently occupies. Is there evidence to support that value? 
  • Did Abbate offer Sequoia Brewing the same price for the property that it offered Adventure Church? 
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.