Empty lot next to the Auburn Avenue Theater. The Auburn City Council voted to approve the purchase of the lot on June 6, 2022. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing

Empty lot next to the Auburn Avenue Theater. The Auburn City Council voted to approve the purchase of the lot on June 6, 2022. Photo by Henry Stewart-Wood/Sound Publishing

Auburn City Council approves purchase of site of former Max House Apartments

The city will likely use the land to redevelop the Auburn Avenue Theater.

During its meeting on Monday, June 6, the Auburn City Council unanimously approved a resolution allowing the city’s purchase of the vacant lot where the Max House Apartments once stood at 101 E Main St. in downtown Auburn.

Purchasing the property will cost the city $412,900, according to the purchase agreement.

On July 24, 2021, a fire almost completely destroyed the Max House Apartments building and damaged the Auburn Avenue Theater next door. As a result of the fire, the Max House Apartments building was demolished.

Damage caused by the fire made the Auburn Avenue Theater unusable, according to council documents.

The Auburn Avenue Theater has been closed to the public since January 2022 due to concerns over the structural integrity of the building. All of the performances scheduled to take place at the theater this season have been canceled or rescheduled at a different venue.

Purchasing the property allows the city to rebuild or redevelop the Auburn Avenue Theater without having to change its location of the theater.

The city has previously invested money to develop the Arts and Culture Center on the same block, so purchasing this land will allow the city to continue its work developing a vibrant downtown area, according to the council.

“Purchase of the Max House property will not only further support the previous investments made, but show continued dedication to Auburn’s downtown, Auburn residents, the creative arts, and the formation of an Arts District by providing the additional property needed to redevelop and/or reconstruct the theater,” the resolution said.

Councilmember Kate Baldwin introduced the resolution to the council.

“City staff have recommended this adoption to approve the purchase and sale agreement,” Baldwin said. “This is land that is adjacent to the Auburn Avenue Theater and gives us a great opportunity for the city to work in developing that space.

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