Fox Theatre purchase falls through



Plans to purchase the historic Fox Theatre in Paso Robles and convert it into a nonprofit venue for the performing arts collapsed last month when sellers and investors failed to reach an amenable deal in time for the June 20 escrow closing date.

Mike and Kathy Sanchez backed out of their partnership with architect Charles Darrow in mid-April, leaving Darrow and his wife to cover the purchase price and $2 million in renovation costs on their own. Still very interested in bringing the Fox back to life, the Darrows decided it would be more effective to restructure the plan as a for-profit enterprise.

To further complicate matters, Darrow's bank dropped his loan at the eleventh hour of a six-month escrow, forcing him to secure unconventional financing to purchase the theater. Then the sellers changed their minds about selling the property, Darrow said, just hours away from closing.

"If the owners reconsider putting the theater back on the market, we're still interested in purchasing," he said.

A number of North County performing arts groups, including the Classic American Theatre and the Pioneer Players, had expressed interest in using the refurbished theater to stage music, drama, film, and fine arts productions.

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