The Bing Crosby Theater SOLD! - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

The Bing Crosby Theater SOLD!

SPOKANE, Wash. - GVD Commercial Properties, Inc. has purchased the Bing Crosby Theater. The nearly century-old building at the corner of Sprague and Lincoln was sold by Mitch Silver, owner of Silver Auctions, based in Spokane, in a deal that both parties announced on Feb. 16. The purchase price was not disclosed.

GVD president, Gerald Dicker, says the theater will continue its present operation as a community theater and as a venue for dozens of national shows each year.

Dicker said the only change under the new ownership will be that the theater will undergo extensive repairs and refurbishing. Michael Smith, who has managed the theater for 25 years, will continue in that capacity, Dicker said.

"Our first priority is to preserve this beautiful building," Dicker said. "In whatever we do, we will respect its historical integrity. This building is a part of Spokane history."

Dicker said the building will retain the Bing Crosby name. In fact he hopes, with the help of Gonzaga University and local citizen groups, to expand its role as a place where photos and memorabilia of Bing Crosby's long career are displayed. Two years ago, Dicker purchased a rare collection of 5,000 Bing Crosby photos and made them available to the theater. Selections of the photos have been regularly displayed in the theater.

Dicker pointed out the 1915 building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is a rare example of a perfectly preserved silent movie theater. It opened on Feb. 22 as the Clemmer Theatre. It is remembered by generations of Spokanites as the State Theater, and later as the Met.

The Theater also happens to be the place where singer Bing Crosby started his career. Mitch Silver re-named it for Crosby in 2006. Jerry Dicker said, "In the future, I believe this building could become a major tourist draw for Spokane."

"My long-term hope for this building is that it be preserved as a permanent landmark in Spokane," Dicker said. "We want to fix it up, to protect it, and then some day perhaps sell it to a trust so that it is a possession of the whole Spokane community. It is an essential part of Spokane history and should be protected for future generations."

A representative of a group of citizens who have been interested in the future of the theater said they are in complete support of the transfer of ownership. Mike Kobluk, representing The Bing Crosby Theater Legacy Group, a volunteer citizen organization, said its members are excited about Dicker's plan for the theater. "This is an important step toward securing that building's future. Every old building periodically requires an infusion of loving care and long-term planning, and we think Jerry Dicker is going to give that to the Bing," Kobluk said.

Bill Stimson, president of another volunteer group called Advocates for the Bing Crosby Theater, added: "We think this is a wonderful development for the theater. Jerry Dicker loves that building and will do right by it."

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