The single-screen Fox (“the last word in talking picture entertainment,” according to a painted advertisement on the side of the building) presented movies in Centralia for six decades. The venue finally closed its doors in the 1990s.
Facing the possible loss of the theater, the city of Centralia purchased the Fox in May 2000, and then looked for a buyer to redevelop the property. Sensitive to the historical nature of the building, the city placed several conditions on redevelopment options, mandating that the space be used as a convention center, that the outside of the venue (including its marquee) be restored to its original condition, and that community activities may be held in the renovated space.
In 2003 Opera Pacifica -- an opera group from Olympia -- purchased the Fox with the goal of returning the grand old theater to its former glory.
Estimates put the cost of renovating the Fox at approximately $1.6 million.