Fourth Avenue Theatre demolition set to begin this week
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - A chain link fence surrounded the entrance of the Fourth Avenue Theatre on Tuesday as a few construction workers began working on the downtown Anchorage landmark.
A spokesperson for Peach Holdings LLC — who owns the building — said demolition is set to begin this week. In a message to Alaska’s News Source, they outlined the status of the building and plans for the Fourth Avenue Theatre marquee and artwork.
Peach Holdings said they’ve already begun to move many major pieces of art to secure locations. The items of art include two Alaska history murals that lined the stage, a curved relief of Denali from the lobby, and wildlife panels by the staircase.
“Development plans include re-creating a marquee sign with modern materials using the current sign measurements, design, and color palate as guidance,” Peach Holdings LLC’s Derrick and Terence Chang wrote in the letter.
The future of the original marquee will be determined later after they look at its condition, according to the letter. The building owners said they’ve worked with the National Park Service and Heritage Documentation Programs for advice on documentation with hopes of including the Fourth Avenue Theatre in the Historic American Buildings Survey.
The leveling of the building doesn’t sit well with everyone. Anchorage resident Sheila Patterson, who used to work at the theater, said it’s devastating.
“I’m angry because I hear this word ‘renovation’ and ‘re, re, re’ downtown Anchorage,” Patterson said. “Well, they’re destroying, not renovating.”
In June, the Alaska Historical Commission sent a letter to Gov. Mike Dunleavy recommending he declare the theater a state historic site. Historic preservation architect Sam Combs said declaring the building a historic site gives them a chance to save the theater.
“Encourage the governor to try and work with the owners as an Alaskan historical site,” Combs said. “Which would protect it and not allow it to be torn down.”
The letter from the historical commission followed a news conference in May when Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson announced a downtown redevelopment project called Block 41, where they revealed renderings of the project.
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