Marijuana business forces Christian Youth Theater to move



Posted on May 20, 2014 at 10:46 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 10:46 AM

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.--A vibrant theater arts training program for Spokane’s youth was set to lose its lease in May to allow a potential recreational marijuana business to move in next door.

State law said the proximity of the recreational marijuana operation and the theater was too close. Christian Youth Theater in Spokane Valley was left looking for a new home.

The theater company’s building had dance studios, rehearsal rooms, costumes and much more inside.

“It all goes with us, so you talk about the anxiety in moving.  We get to take up the floors and take down the mirrors, and take down the bars,” said Artistic Director of the theater, Kristin Lyons.

Mountain Gear owned the theater building and several others in the industrial complex. Lyons said she learned a business applied to have a license for recreational marijuana grow operation in the building next door to the theater. State law prohibited a pot shop from being within 1,000 feet of a facility used by children.

“You just don't think that those laws and things affect you and obviously they do,” said Lyons.

Lyons said the theater did not see itself as a victim.

“Mr. Fish was leasing month to month for us, and then the opportunity to rent such a huge piece of his space that's been vacant for seven years opened, so there's no fault.  It's a wonderful outcome for him and a sad outcome for us, but I respect it and understand it,” said Lyons.

Lyon’s said Mountain Gear’s CEO gave the theater a deal on its lease. It only cost them $2,800 per month. That also covered the insurance and taxes on the property, known as triplenet.

“Most properties like this would begin at $3,000 a month plus triplenet, so by the time you are done, it's nearly $4,000 for the same type of building, so we are very gracious to this gentleman,” said Lyons.

Lyons said she looked at nearly 40 properties since the beginning of the year.

“Having to move this organization is gonna be an incredible feat,” said Lyons. “This is just another challenge. It's a wonderful opportunity to us.”

The theater had to move from the building by June 30.