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Talks on Price Next for Alex : Theater: Rehabilitation and conversion of the historic structure could be completed in 18 months, city officials are told.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rehabilitation and conversion of the historic Alex Theatre into a performing arts center could be completed within 18 months after its purchase by the city, the Glendale Redevelopment Agency was told Tuesday.

Laurence R. Clarke, chairman of the Committee for Arts at the Alex, said completed structural and environmental studies are ready so that the city can negotiate with Mann Theatres on a price for the 66-year-old movie house.

The studies indicate that “we have a very good house,” Clarke told the agency, which consists of the five-member City Council. “But it needs some work.”

The city in May allocated $185,000 to buy property in front of the theater at 216 N. Brand Blvd. from a local church. Glendale is negotiating to buy the theater itself, on the rear of the property, from Mann, which has opened a new eight-screen cinema in The Exchange, a rehabilitated area two blocks south of the Alex.

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Residents long have considered the Alex, built in 1925 and distinguished by its neo-Greek architecture, as a historic monument. But various civic, business, cultural and historical groups were unable to agree on its potential use.

The 21-member task force was appointed early this year to resolve the issue. The first public airing of the committee’s recommendations is set for Sept. 21, when committee members and city officials will seek public input during the Saturday forum from 10 a.m. to noon at the Alex.

Public reaction to the committee’s proposals could serve as a bellwether of the future of the Alex, committee and city officials said.

A programming schedule outlining potential uses of the theater, architectural design proposals and cost estimates of the project are expected to be completed by the committee prior to final adoption of recommendations, Clarke said.

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