12 November 2009

Got eight figures lying around?

Today you may have the unique opportunity to buy a piece of history. Whether you're local or of a national bent, the opportunities await you - though you may have less than two hours to take advantage.

I've been following the saga of the Fox Theatre in Redwood City (not Oakland's Fox Theater) for a few months. A pair of real estate developers, John Anagnostou and Mike Monte, bought the 1400-seat Gothic Revival moviehouse and thoroughly renovated it, turning the place into an excellent live music venue. They also created a smaller 200-seat bar/cabaret within the same complex called the Little Fox. Rumors that Redwood City would buy the theatre were largely squashed as city officials indicated that budget woes would make such a purchase imprudent. Fox Theatre has additional office space and retail spaces along its Broadway frontage, making it a multifaceted venue. According to assessors, the place is worth $2.35 million, but the current owners took on a ton of debt to renovate it. While media reports don't have an exact figure, the total debt is said to be $10 million to multiple creditors. That amount has probably caused interested parties to balk at a purchase. A twice-delayed foreclosure auction is supposed to happen today, though it could be delayed again as the developers continue to try to work out some kind of refinancing plan with their creditors.

If your horizons aren't limited to the Bay Area or the Peninsula, you might want to set your sights on Pontiac, Michigan. The once-impressive Silverdome is also up for auction, with the city trying to fetch at least $13.2 million for the 80,000-seat indoor stadium. Once home to both for the Lions and Pistons, the Silverdome has also hosted several major events, including NCAA hoops regionals (though not the Final Four). The City of Pontiac wants the $1.5 million per year maintenance bill albatross off its back, and it's hoping that some smart developer will figure out a way to spur growth in the area. One unusual idea by an area citizen would turn the dome into a massive youth sports facility. The dome currently has no tenants. City police have been investigating thefts inside the stadium.

Update: The Fox Theatre auction was delayed yet again.
Update 2 (11/17): The Silverdome was sold for $583,000. No, I am not missing zeroes on that figure. The median home price of a home in San Jose is $566,000, in Alameda County it's $357,000, and in San Francisco it's $662,000.