Opera Theatre

Will a church buy Fresno’s iconic Tower Theatre?

A battle is brewing over an iconic landmark in Fresno’s arts and entertainment district that may pit economic development against religious freedom.

Fresno city council members Esmeralda Soria and Miguel Arias both confirmed over social media Fresno’s Tower Theatre entered into escrow to be sold to Adventure Church.

The sale has drawn concern from Tower District residents and businesses who worry a church would harm the bars, restaurants, shops, galleries, and nightclubs in the area.

The Tower Theatre is the “heart and lungs” of the district long known for hosting Fresno’s annual Gay Pride Parade and other community events, Tower District Marketing Committee’s Tyler Mackey said.

“The Tower Theatre is a cultural icon,” Mackey said. “It would be a blow to the Tower District to lose the venue.” 

Mackey started a Facebook page, Save the Tower Theatre, in hopes to spread the word about the potential sale.

In social media posts, Soria and Arias suggested the potential sale of the Tower Theatre to a church could also see opposition at Fresno City Hall.