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Redwood City's Fox Theatre sold to Atherton businessman

Current owners will continue to run theater for at least the next four years

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Peter Pau of Atherton, principal and founder of Menlo Park's Sand Hill Properties, has acquired Redwood City's Fox Theatre, it was announced on Feb. 28. Former owners Eric and Lori Lochtefeld will continue to run the theater for at least four more years.

The Lochtefelds purchased the Fox out of foreclosure for $6 million six years ago with a Small Business Administration loan, Mr. Lochetefeld said. Their asking price for the theater was $20 million and they received multiple offers for the property, he said, but they are not releasing the sales price.

He said they chose Mr. Pau as the new owner in part because he wants to continue to operate the theater as an entertainment venue.

In a statement Mr. Pau said he sees "the Fox Theatre as the crown jewel of Redwood City real estate" and that he appreciates the historic architecture and character of the building. Mr. Pau said he hopes to use the theater to host many nonprofit events.

Mr. Lochtefeld, who grew up in Menlo Park, said the theater will continue to operate as it has, as will the neighboring music venue, Club Fox, which is run by his brother, Charley Lochtefeld.

Because the Fox Theatre has removable seats, it can serve as a sit-down event venue for up to 280 people at tables, as well as for entertainment events, he said.

The sale includes 20,000 square feet of theater space, 10,000 square feet of office space and 10,000 square feet of retail space. The Lochtefelds did not sell their business, Golden Fox Venues Inc. or the new office building they are developing behind the Fox with Harmony Capital of Redwood City.

Mr. Lochtefeld said soon after he and his wife bought the theater they realized that unless downtown Redwood City grew they would not be a success. They helped form the Redwood City Improvement Association and worked to make improvements in downtown Redwood City.

"It almost felt like a full-time job focusing on the vibrancy of downtown," he said.

"My wife and I poured our heart and soul into making this theater successful," he said, and made sure they found a buyer who would preserve the theater. "We knew (Mr. Pau) was the right buyer from the beginning," Mr. Lochtefeld said.

The Lochtefelds also own the Golden State Theatre in Monterey.

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