Out & About – 01/21/2007

Sunday, January 21, 2007 – If one visits downtown Riverside, as we did today, they will notice the historic Fox Theatre is now fenced off, awaiting a $30 million renovation. As one of the centerpieces of the $780 million Riverside Renaissance Initiative — which outlines 25 years worth of citywide projects in about 5 — the Fox will receive a complete makeover, transforming it into 1,600 seat performing arts center.

2007 - Fox Theatre

Opened in 1929, the Riverside Fox was once a favorite place for Hollywood studios to screen movies prior to their release. Studio executives felt the area better represented American audiences more so than patrons in Hollywood. One such sneak preview was “Gone With the Wind” in 1939.

Across the street from the Fox Theatre is the Stalder Building, which is actually three buildings unified into a single facade via a 1926 renovation. A portion of the building once housed the city’s first permanent fire station (1890s).

Over the years, the configuration of the building has been significantly altered, resulting in as many as 8 storefronts along Mission Inn Avenue plus a few along Market Street. Recently, it has become a mix of mostly small antique shops, including the popular Mr. Beasley’s.

Come March 1st, however, the stores will be fully vacated in preparation for Fox Plaza, a mixed-use development planned for the site that includes residential and commercial with underground parking.

Fox Plaza (MetroPacific)

Expected to break ground in 2007, Fox Plaza is a $200 million development that when fully built will add 500 residential units and 65,000 square feet of retail space along two blocks of Market Street from Mission Inn Avenue to Fifth Street. Also included in the 2-phase plan is a 130 room, full-service hotel.

Though it’s difficult to see one of Riverside’s oldest buildings come down, we’re eagerly anticipating Fox Plaza, which no doubt will be a significant and unique addition to downtown. If Riverside truly hopes to have a more balanced and livlier downtown, particularly after 5 p.m., developments such as Fox Plaza and m sole that include residential units are indeed necessary.

Flash: Out & About slideshow

Photo Gallery: Stalder Building



Sources: City of Riverside, The Press-Enterprise, MetroPacific LLC

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