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Home > News > City to ‘purchase’ Lear Theater for $875,000

City to ‘purchase’ Lear Theater for $875,000

By Bob Conrad
The Lear Theater as it sits in June 2020. Image: Jeri Chadwell

The Reno City Council tomorrow is scheduled to consider an agenda item for the purchase of the beleaguered Lear Theater. 

Previously described by City Manager Doug Thornley as “a transfer” of ownership, and a donation, the council agenda item now indicates the city will pay $875,000 to Artown for the property.

City staff characterized the transfer as a “donation of the Lear Theater from Artown with a tie-in for a continued $125,000 annual support payment plan to Artown for seven years” beginning this month. 

The $125,000 is what the city annually grants to Artown as a festival sponsorship.

“This seven-year agreement with Artown is for the purchase of the Lear Theater located at 501 Riverside Drive … and the parking lot located to the west of the theater … not to exceed $875,000,” a staff report noted. “The City will make seven equal payments of $125,000 each fiscal year with funding coming from the Room Tax Fund.”

Rehab costs for the property are estimated to be as much as $10 million. 

“These expenses are not included in the FY 21/22 adopted budget,” staff said.

The property has been unused since 2002. Artown got the property in 2011 for the purpose of transforming it into an arts center.

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