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Jeff Woo

Plan could rejuvenate Fine Arts Theater

Profile image for By Julian Gill
By Julian Gill
The Fine Arts Theater, shown Thursday, has sat vacant for about two years.Jeff Woo
The Fine Arts Theater, shown Thursday, has sat vacant for about two years.
Jeff Woo

The long-vacant Fine Arts Theater on the downtown Square could once again become a hot spot in Denton.

John “Sparky” Pearson, a local business owner and real estate developer, is in the process of buying the property, he said. Currently, he is a partial owner of Lone Star Attitude Burger Co., Barley & Board, and the Audacity Brew House at Travelstead under construction on East Hickory Street.

Katy McBride Reynolds, whose father, Glen McBride, has owned the building since 1985, said her father’s lawyer has been handling negotiations. Glen McBride declined to comment on the potential deal.

“We appreciate Denton’s interest in the theater and we want to make sure if it is sold, it is refurbished to its original use, a single-screen theater,” Reynolds said.

Pearson said he intends to revitalize the theater and maintain the vintage vibes, screening movies and selling popcorn and candy.

With the revitalization, he hopes people will see the Square as a place they can go on the classic date — dinner and a movie nearby.

But first, Pearson has to wait, as he has for the past several months, to buy the property. He said the deal has been drawn out because former stakeholders have died since negotiations began, and their shares had to be divided before negotiations could pick back up.

Since the early 1990s, various church groups had been renting out the space, Reynolds said. In June 2014, the church group tenants purchased their own building, and the theater has remained empty since.

Reynolds said they tried to rent out the space for music, comedy and film shows in 2006, but there wasn’t enough of a market then.

“We appreciate Denton being patient with us while we figure out what the future holds for the Fine Arts Theater,” she said.

JULIAN GILL can be reached at 940-566-6845 and via Twitter at @juliangillmusic.

Staff writer Jenna Duncan contributed to this report.