Musicians host funeral for historic downtown Anchorage landmark
It’s a question many Alaskans who live in Anchorage have: What will happen to the old Fourth Avenue Theatre?
With no clear answer in sight, local musicians hosted a “funeral” for the landmark Sunday, celebrating the former life of what they called the historic gem of downtown Anchorage. People brought flowers, and shared memories.
“The Fourth Avenue Theatre was the place to go in those days,” said Bruce Kelly.
But Sunday’s event wasn’t an average funeral, because while the reason they were gathered was boarded up and lifeless, they’re still hoping to revive it.
The building’s owners at Peach Investments LLC wanted to develop it into a tower with a shopping mall, a parking garage and possibly a hotel or condos, but the Municipality of Anchorage denied their request for a multi-million dollar tax break because their proposal wasn’t specific enough.
So the theatre sits, unused.
“The Fourth Avenue Theatre is really our most historic gem in this town and it desperately needs to be saved,” Kelly said. “We haven’t got much left of the old days.”
Filmmaker Jan Welt remembers when his movie was on the screen for two summers in a row. Now, he says he’s “disgusted” with what the once-grand theatre has become.
“Five or six other cities have done the right thing, and renovated and restored their old movie theaters,” he noted. “Here, not so much.”
That’s why the group showed up, signs in hand, and listened to music together in front of the building.
“If enough people supported doing something with the Fourth Avenue Theatre, maybe we could still save it after all. It’s not dead yet,” said Audrey Kelly.
Peach Investments LLC hasn’t responded to KTVA’s request for comment on what the next step in the project is. They are eligible to reapply for the tax abatement.
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