Fresno landmarks go up for sale, experts hope to preserve history

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Hardy's Theater in downtown Fresno was known as the Liberty Theater when it opened in 1917.

The theater is one of Fresno landmarks that has been sold and purchased by a church out of Los Angeles.

"A lot of the owners that have owned these for decades, 50-60 years they had uses back then that were feasible and were making money. Some of those uses have fizzled off, and some of the buildings have transitioned and some haven't. So we're finally seeing after decades, buyers are coming in," said Jared Ennis, a commercial real estate agent

Ennis helped sell Hardy's and is one of the agents on the Rainbow Ballroom sale.

RELATED: Rainbow Ballroom up for sale in Downtown Fresno

Built as a large indoor swimming pool, it later became a ballroom. It has been impacted by the pandemic and the owner has decided it's time to sell.

"There were 35 sales in the downtown triangle between February of 2020 to 2021. Those are both government-funded agencies. However, the year before, we saw 65 transactions, and the top ten were all private investors, owner-users," Ennis said.

The Tower Theater is currently for sale.

Adventure Church is looking to purchase the property but has faced controversy from some neighbors and businesses.

RELATED: Roadblocks for Fresno mayor's offer to settle Tower Theatre sale dispute

Historical experts point to many buildings that have been purchased in the past decade and believe a renaissance is happening.

"Not every building is going to be saved, not every building is going to be considered historical quality or caliber, but the ones that can be saved in most cities in America, they become the heart of city again and that's what we hope will happen here in Fresno, said Elizabeth Laval, president of the Fresno County Historical Society.

The Wilson Theater was purchased by Cornerstone Church. It just celebrated its 95th anniversary and is still being used by the community.

Experts believe we will see strong demand for these buildings and more sales when we come out of this pandemic.

RELATED: Wilson Theatre then and now: Historic downtown Fresno theater celebrates 95 years
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