Fresno · Highlight

Judge to rule on Tower Theatre sale by end of week

The owners of Sequoia Brewing Company and the Tower Theatre returned to court Wednesday to make their final arguments in the dispute over the sale of the historic theater. 

Sequoia Brewing, a tenant of the Tower Theatre, filed a lawsuit against Tower Theatre owner Laurence Abbate in February, arguing that the brewery’s right of first refusal in its lease was violated when Abbate agreed to sell the theater to Adventure Church. 

On the other hand, Abbate argued that the lease gave Sequoia Brewing an option to purchase the parcel that it is renting after he gave notice of his desire to sell the property. 

The brewery sought a preliminary injunction in late February to halt the sale. Fresno County Superior Court Judge Rosemary McGuire issued a temporary restraining order at the time and directed both parties to return Wednesday to submit further arguments. 

At the end of Wednesday’s hearing, McGuire said she hopes to submit her ruling by Friday. 

If the judge rules in favor of Sequoia Brewing, the sale to Adventure Church will be halted indefinitely until a full trial takes place. 

If McGuire rules against Sequoia Brewing, Abbate should be clear to complete the sale to Adventure Church. 

However, Sequoia Brewing’s attorneys told reporters following the hearing that the brewery would seek immediate relief from an appellate court. 

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.