SPRINGDALE -- Sentiment prompted a pair of longtime residents to buy the dilapidated Apollo Theater in downtown Springdale.
Brian Moore and Tom Lundstrum formed Restore Springdale and bought the former theater at 308 W. Emma Ave. for $50,000 last week.
"It is kind of a Springdale landmark. When they were going to tear it down, I started to think about it," said Moore, vice president of Engineering Services. "I grew up here and figured we had to do something."
Moore recalled seeing one of his first movies, Walt Disney's "Herbie," at the Apollo Theater.
Lundstrum's memories of the theater come a bit later, after it quit showing films, but he recalls attending country music shows in the building in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
"It's certainly good for downtown to see someone who is going to do something with the building and not tear it down," said Philip Taldo, executive broker with Weichert, Realtors -- The Griffin Co. in Springdale, which listed the property.
The City Council was set to raze the theater, but delayed the action to give buyers one more chance to step in. The property, with a listed value of $187,450, was listed for $70,000.
Restore Springdale bought the building from James Ritchey.
"Basically we bought four walls and a floor," Lundstrum said.
The building's leaky roof caused extensive interior damage and replacing it is the first step in the project's development, Moore said. He estimated renovation costs would be "several hundred thousand dollars."
"It's one of those things you really do with your heart and not with your head," Moore said.
Lundstrum said beyond all the sentimental reasons for doing the project, they want to create a business that will make a profit. What that business will be is still up in the air, but Lundstrum said they are kicking around ideas.
"We have a couple of surprises we are working on that will be neat," he said. "We hope to create something the people of Springdale will be proud of."
Moore said he's happy to be part of the area's revitalization movement.
"For me, the things that are happening downtown bring a smile to my face," he said.
An Emma Avenue building that housed Ryan's Clothing until last year also has a new buyer. Springdale Downtown LLC, a company associated with the Walton family, bought the San Jose Manor earlier this year.
Springdale Downtown is registered in Delaware and has the same post office box address as one used by Walton Family Enterprises.
The Brown building at 317 E. Emma Ave. was also slated for demolition, but gained a reprieve after a potential buyer stepped forward. The City Council last month approved selling the building to Tyson Foods for $37,313. Jim Cypert donated the building to the city.
The Brown building was one of the first chicken hatcheries in Springdale. The original Tyson Foods headquarters are next door at 319 E. Emma Ave. Both structures are part of the Springdale Poultry Industry Historic District.
Tyson is considering moving some employees to the area around the original headquarters, said Dan Fogleman, Tyson spokesman. He wouldn't elaborate on the company's plan.
Tyson also donated $100,000 to the Downtown Springdale Alliance for its revitalization projects. The alliance is a nonprofit organization. The Care Foundation recently donated $493,000, and the combined money will pay for tearing down buildings on Mill Street to make room for Walter Turnbow Park. The Razorback Greenway, a 36-mile trail running from north Bentonville to south Fayetteville, will cut through the park.
"Things are happening downtown," said Kent Hirsch, Springdale attorney and member of the Downtown Springdale Alliance.
He pointed to October as a date when some of the changes in downtown will be visible. At least a portion of the trail's Springdale route will be open by then, adding more foot traffic to the area.NW News on 07/04/2014
Print Headline: Businessmen Buy Apollo Theater