The old Egyptian Theatre has received a stay of execution from the wrecking ball.
The building was purchased Thursday afternoon by the Weber County Heritage Foundation and the Friends of the Egyptian Theatre for an undisclosed amount of money.The theater, on Washington Boulevard in downtown Ogden, was scheduled to be demolished later this month if the previous owner, Dr. Ray Broadbent, a Salt Lake plastic surgeon, could not find a purchaser.
Broadbent was seeking a demolition permit from Ogden's Landmark Commission. Commission members ruled that a permit would be issued if a buyer could not be found by April 26.
The building has stood vacant for about three years, and Broadbent has been trying to sell it since then. He was asking for $400,000, then lowered the price to $300,000. Broadbent said he would sell the building to the Friends for $250,000. The group has been trying to raise the money now for about two years.
Negotiations for the sale got under way earlier this week, and Broadbent turned down an offer of $200,000. A counter offer was made, and a final agreement was reached about 4:30 p.m. Thursday.
Broadbent said he turned down the $200,000 offer because he wanted a fair price for the theater.
"That's just not acceptable," he said. "We've just been squeezed too much. We've already dropped the price from $400,000 to $300,000."
Ann Peck, president of the Weber County Heritage Foundation, said Friday that the building cost them more than $200,000 but declined to release the exact purchase price.
"We have bought the theater," Peck said. "We are very pleased."
She said the foundation is now eligible to seek $150,000 from the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington D.C. She said she should know within a couple of weeks if they get the money.
The theater has raised a controversy in Ogden because of the history and the unique architecture of the building.
The theater, built in 1924, was designed with an Egyptian theme after the discovery of King Tut's tomb.
The city council has also made a move to help restore the old building by appointing 24 members to an Egyptian Theatre Board. The council made the appointments Thursday night, and the board will meet on April 14 to select a chairman and other officers.
The board was created as an advisory panel to make recommendations on whether the city should let the voters decide the fate of the old building by holding a bond election.
The council has been considering holding a $2.5 million bond election to buy, restore and manage the theater.