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Developers Withdraw Proposal for Bellevue's Marianne, City Moves Forward

A proposal to turn the historic Marianne Theater in Bellevue into condos was withdrawn, City Administrator Frank Warnock told The River City News on Friday.

"The city continues to receive interest in the Marianne Theater. We will proceed carefully and listen to viable proposals," Warnock said. "A condition of any transaction will be to maintain the facade. At some point, I am optimistic that we will reach a positive result. Many people have ideas, but no one has committed the resources necessary to preserve the structure satisfactory to the collective desire of the council. We’ll continue to work on it."

Earlier this month, The River City News reported that the City of Bellevue, which purchased the Fairfield Avenue movie theater in 2014 in an effort to gain control of its future, received only one proposal for redevelopment.

Bellevue-based Brandicorp had pitched the idea of making the building residential.

The proposal was met with widespread disdain on social media. Warnock said the would-be developer decided to withdraw, but that a subsequent discussion resulted in a mutual agreement to step back and review options.

"The developer has performed high quality commercial development in Over-the-Rhine and elsewhere and we enjoy working with him in Bellevue," Warnock said. "The issue of how to proceed is under discussion, but we’ve received interest after the deadline passed."

Bellevue city council met on September 11, one day after The River City News article was published detailing the would-be developer's plans.

At that meeting, Mayor Charlie Cleves commented that the building has cost the city over $300,000 and it still has maintenance problems. "The roof is totally bad, water is dripping on electric, and then we had electrical problems," Cleves said. "We have over $300,000 into it so the hole keeps getting deeper and deeper."

Cleves said to those who want to see the Marianne returned as an entertainment destination that there would be issues, on top of the millions of dollars in redevelopment costs. He estimated that the Marianne, if operating as an event space or entertainment venue would need sixty parking spots.

"We don't have sixty spots to give that thing," he said. "People are complaining to me (the condo project) will tear up the avenue. It's just the opposite. If it's six condos, we're looking at two spots per condo. That's twelve spots. That's the least amount of spots in Bellevue of every other plan."

The mayor also said that he had received a suggestion from "a couple people" to leave the Art Deco facade, but to tear down the rest and make a parking lot.

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher

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